Thriving in Discipleship
This is my most dramatic plant. She needs lots of light and regular watering. When she hasn’t been watered, every leaf she has points straight to the ground. As soon as you water her, however, her leaves perk right back up. Within minutes she’s restored! As long as you water her and give her light.. she thrives!! Why is that? I believe it’s because she was created for water and light.. it’s what sustains her!!
And so it goes with Christians! As Christians there is something we are created to need: Discipleship. Discipleship is a process that sustains us so that we can thrive!
Dictionary.com describes the word descipleship as such:
1. The condition or situation of being a disciple, a follower, or a student of some philosophy, especially a follower of Christ.
In Justin’s sermon this past Sunday he gave this definition of discipleship: the process in which a follower of Jesus grows in his commitment to following the Lord.
I like how the first definition calls discipleship a condition. It sounds to me like it is saying discipleship is a state of being.
I also love how the definition Justin gave us calls it a process. Let’s take a few moments to visit each of the sermon points from this past Sunday’s sermon, and maybe we can find out what the process is to the condition of being a disciple of Jesus!
1. The Doctrine of Discipleship
What is doctrine? In simple terms, doctrine is just a fancy way of saying, “Hey, this is what we believe.”
One of my favorite quotes from this Sunday was “we cannot be swayed by any wind of doctrine that blows our way.”
We must get our doctrine from the word of God, the Bible!
A few years ago I got to attend the yearly Ga Baptist Ministers wives retreat for the first time. It was wonderful! It was there I got to hear the wonderful Bible teacher, Laura Ford, for the very first time. Laura was very open, honest, and vulnerable as she shared struggles and brokenness from some very difficult years of her life. She also shared how, finally, God got her attention, how the Word of God brought her back to life, and how He restored her relationship with Him. I remember feeling so guilty! The truth was I just didn’t love my Bible the way she was describing. I went to Laura.. someone I didn’t know.. and with tears I couldn’t hold back I said, “I just don’t love my Bible like that!” I really thought she may judge me but she met me with so much compassion. Her words are still so precious to me today. She said, “Ask Him to help you love His word and just start somewhere, anywhere in The Bible!”
My friends, sometimes we just make it harder than it has to be. We need to embrace discipleship for what it is: a process. Discipleship is GROWING. It’s not perfection or learning it all NOW. It’s a daily commitment to the Word of God and growing in Him!
One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Ephesians 3:19. I have it written on the inside of a cabinet in my house. It says, “and to know Christ’s love that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with the fullness of God.”
That is discipleship. Knowing Christ’s love so that we may be FILLED with Him.
2. The fellowship of Discipleship
This one is probably my favorite: Fellowship.
In Sunday’s sermon Justin said, “We do not exist simply as an organization. We exist as a family!”
A few months ago I ran into a sweet lady at Kroger. I knew she had went through some struggles and that she was a member of our church. That was all I knew about her. I made a little extra effort to say hello and to invite her back to church. To my surprise, she was there that Sunday! I found out months later that my speaking to her in the local grocery store gave her the courage to come back to church. Now she is a very dear friend to me and is deeply plugged in to the church. I don’t say that for my applause. I share that to say: God uses fellowship!
The year 2020 showed us just how valuable fellowship truly is. Another quote from this Sunday was “there is a special bond between believers. To that I say Amen!
If you are a Christian, but you aren’t in regular fellowship with other believers, I want to encourage you to take a small step out of your comfort zone. Attend a meeting outside of your regular 11:00 AM meeting. Maybe that is celebrate recovery, Sunday school, or helping with your Church’s children’s program. You could even join the choir. You will find much encouragement in meeting with other believers!
If you really want to be blessed here is something I have done myself: invite a friend, someone from your church you are acquainted with, and ask that person to invite anyone they’d like! Make a pot of coffee and have them over!! You will find it really is true that believers share a special bond!
Once I felt lead to invite a sweet Christian lady over that I hardly knew for breakfast and we chatted for HOURS!! We hardly knew one another but because of Christ we already had a bond.
Don’t miss out on fellowship! There is much to be gained.
3. The action of Discipleship
As with any process there is required work! If we want muscles we can’t sit on our couch and hope for them to grow. We must get up and hit the gym. No fun, right? Maybe at first! But rumor has it that many gym goers eventually find going to the gym to be therapeutic.. something that gets them through their days and weeks.
So it is with service to the Lord. You may be giving up your tv time to serve on Wednesday nights. It may be out of your comfort zone to attend a small Sunday school class. You may not feel like opening your Bible today and you may be very nervous about opening your home to develop relationships with other believers! I do believe, however, that very soon you will find that it brings you joy to do so! Once you start to reap the benefits of the discipleship process you will then be in the CONDITION of discipleship and that is a great place to be.
Much like the plant from the beginning of our chat.. if you give yourself the life giving water and light of discipleship it won’t be long before you are thriving as God intended.