There’s been a bit of chat of late about discipleship, in a ‘following Jesus’ kind of way. The definition of what it is has been in discussion over at Transfarmer‘s corner and by extension, how it is done. MY questions follow on from that…
A significant temptation as a ‘professional’ Christian (along with flashing your vast wads of cash…) is to allow the desire to see people change as they grasp the truth about God to become confused with the desire to see people change as they grasp the truth about God from what we teach them.
In fact, its maybe not so much a temptation as an everyday hazard of the job.
The thing is… it is God who changes us, isn’t it? Its a bit like leading worship in a way – you can prepare are the beautiful songs and music and readings and prayers you want, but unless God shows people’s hearts something of himself, then a worship leader is just singing a nice wee song and sometimes not even that! But when your heart longs to see people impacted by Jesus, plus the added pressure of it kinda sorta being a big part of your full-time job you it feels extra specially important that you do it well.
I want to be assured that my ‘methods’ of relating to people, discipling people, teaching people are the best and most effective for spurring change and growth. I want to know that I’m saying the right things, doing the right things to show people the absolute beauty of the gospel of Jesus. I want them to see it, taste it, live it, breathe it…
The Spirit of God is at work in me and therefore there is goodness and truth and purity in my motives, but I’m still in a world affected by sin, so there are selfish reasons as to why I want to get it right. I want to be able to compare myself with those who’ve gone before and those who will come behind and feel that I measure up just as well as (or better than) them. Oh! for the day we can look at each other in contentment and joy in the display of the multi-coloured, much-varied, manifold wisdom of God in the tapestry of His church!
So anyway… let’s assume for a minute that my motives are spotless and think about this. Discipleship. Are there methods to the madness? What are those ‘difficult questions’ that so many claim they need to be asked? What does ‘being intentional’ really look like? Okay, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all model, but surely there must be some principles somewhere to work from?
Really my question is this: If true change is brought about by the Holy Spirit, how do I BEST play my part in facilitating that work? Any suggestions?