Cracking the Code of Discipleship

Many of us hunger for more intimate Christian togetherness. We join a church seeking friendship and community but find that even in a church it is easy to feel alone. To be a growing, healthy member of the Body of Christ involves more than participating in Sunday morning worship—we need to dig in deeper with each other on a regular basis over an extended period of time.

Jesus tells us through His words and example how to do that,

"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations . . . teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you" (Matt. 28:19–20).

Jesus wants His followers to be part of a great line of disciples. He commands discipleship as a way of life so that the fullness of our life in Him can be passed on to others. They, in turn, can pass it on to others until "the end of the age" (Matt. 28:20).

When we disciple women, the coming generations receive the blessings of our efforts.

Think of your life thirty years from now. How old will you be? I'll be ninety-three, Lord willing. I long to leave behind a generation of women, children, and grandchildren who love Christ with all their hearts—who bear witness to the joyful satisfaction of a life lived in full surrender to Him.

Psalm 78:1–7 challenges one generation to make known to the "coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders he has done." In this way we bring Christ to future generations as well—"that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God . . ."

This is a generational stewardship, given to us by God. When we disciple women, the coming generations receive the blessings of our efforts. A glacier seems to be accomplishing little at the moment but can leave behind canyons and lakes. Be willing to be part of a glacier. Your life matters—and will matter for years—as you leave behind generations who "set their hope in God."

The first step in discipleship is to be a disciple yourself. "Disciple" is not just a verb, it is also a noun. You are, first, a disciple of Christ. The apostle Paul said, "Be imitators of me, as I imitate Christ" (1 Cor. 11:1). Ask the Lord to give you a Christian to imitate.

In whom do you see the radiant beauty of Jesus overflowing into other lives (Phil. 3:17)? Ask her out for tea. Tell her your heart's desire. See if she will meet with you. If she can't, keep looking until God fulfills this desire. The first woman I asked to disciple me could not do it. Discipleship means taking relational risks. God will bring you to the right woman.

Ask God to fill you so full that you have something to pass along.

The second step is to look for those God wants you to influence for Him. Discipleship is intentionally giving to others what Jesus has given to you. Ask Him to fill you so full that you have something to pass along. Do you know Jesus? Do you love Him? Someone needs to hear that, to see that up close.

Discipleship isn't about first-class Christians trying to bring second-class Christians up to their level. Being a disciple and discipling others means looking at Jesus with such intensity and delight that you actually begin to reflect His beauty in everyday life. Jesus becomes more exciting, more precious, more satisfying than anything or anyone else. The most important way you can disciple others is by enjoying Christ yourself in such an irresistible way that your enjoyment becomes contagious.

Have you ever longed to be discipled? Are you discipling others? What has worked for you? Look for tomorrow's post with some concrete suggestions to help you follow this biblical mandate.

Did you discover God’s Truth today?

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About the Author

Jani Ortlund

Jani Ortlund

Jani Ortlund, Executive Vice President of Renewal Ministries, loves spending her energies connecting women with the Word of God. Serving Jesus Christ through writing, speaking and discipling are her chief passions in life. Jani and Ray, Pastor of Immanuel Church, have four married children and twelve grandchildren, and minister in Nashville, Tennessee.

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