4) The Principle of Discipling
New believers must be formed quickly in the patterns of a healthy and practical way of Christian life, if they are to become life long followers of the Lord Jesus. They must learn to be disciple-making disciples. Too long a delay, and they will become immature followers for a lifetime, at best, or unfruitful branches at worst. A new believer must hear and obey the call to be a disciple who can help another disciple to be formed.
Making this principle foundational is not accomplished by a program or a temporary training course. It has to be lived. It must become a pattern of behavior that shapes the DNA of the believer. The tree will be known by its fruit, and the fruit of a believer is another believing disciple. But how does this reproduction become normal? At least three things must be true for this to happen.
First, existing followers of Jesus must become convinced that living as a disciple-making disciple is for them, and they must pray for it to be so. When the Lord first sent out his disciples, they were told to “pray to the Lord of the Harvest to raise up laborers to go into that harvest.” Even as they went, they were to pray to be multiplied. Whatever their particular gift or ministry, they were to help others join them. Prayer to be faithful in helping to spread the kingdom, and doing so, was part of daily life as a follower of Jesus. Disciple-making was not an option.
Second, a follower of Jesus must first be discipled by another in order to learn the essential pattern of discipling for themselves. Walking alongside a faithful follower teaches them how to do the same. Within days of first following Jesus, those first disciples spent hours, every day, with their Master. They discovered that discipling is a relational, time consuming, and intentional lifestyle. They learned it from the Lord so they could pass it on. Reproduction is the goal of discipling. To accomplish it requires intentionality. We learn to be disciples by walking with other disciples.
Thus it is that third, a discipled disciple – a made disciple – comes to have confidence to build discipling relationships for themselves. They begin to invite others to walk with them. They make time for meeting with those who want to learn. They develop a loving and open lifestyle, with enough margin always to help make a new disciple as the Lord leads. It is then only a matter of time until such a lifestyle becomes like breathing for them. If the Lord has need of them they will answer his summons.
When the principle of discipling is being lived there will be no day to busy to help disciple another. There will be no schedule too packed to prevent them from helping someone the Lord sends to walk the road of Christ with them. They will never refuse “to go” to the one ready to follow. Discipling will be central to their life.
Next Week: 5) The Principle of Serving.
Used with permission, https://joncshuler.wordpress.com/