God has been teaching me a lot lately. it has been shaking up much of the way I think and view much of the present reality in which I live. Making disciples has been at the top of that list. What does it look like to make disciples in a culture that is largely not Christian? How do I go about making disciples when most people think they already are one? What is a disciple?
Because of these questions, I have been diving into Scripture and trying to look at what it means. Even when I do this I get more questions about calling, wold view, Christian Nation, and free will. Now, I am not going to try an answer all of these questions, but God has been showing me where to start.
In Youth Group, we have been doing a Francis Chan series called BASIC. In this series he challenges us to re-evaluate our stance with God. This desire for us to re-evaluate roots out of the problem that the church in America doesn’t look like the church in the New Testament. He wants us to go look at the BASICs of the faith and evaluate what we do against what is going on in the New Testament and the Bible. This series changed the way I look at my own spiritual journey, when I was introduced to it just over a year ago. This theme of BASIC has really caught my attention. When you think of BASIC you most likely think of BASIC training like they do in the Army. WHat they do here from what I understand is prepare you for battle. You learn, grow, workout, are challenged, there are new rules, new customs, new stories and the way you think and behave is transform, so that you are fit to operate in the Army.
God has been kind of doing that with me. He has been reshaping and reorienting me to how I make disciples. He has taken something, like BASIC, and used it to teach me some basics of disciple making. I have never been a very disciplined person. That it not naturally who I am. For as long as I can remember, I have always tried to establish a routine. Most people like routines. I cannot keep a routine to save my life. In other words, I have poor self discipline. This was evident when I got to college. I struggled to roll out of bed and make it to an 8 o’clock class or any class before 10. As a result, two of my best friends would wake me up for class countless mornings, earning me a wonderful nickname. In high school, I couldn’t stick with any weight gain program for football; and now, without an organized sport in my life, I struggle to workout on a consistent basis. This lack of desire rolled over into my spiritual life as well. I never could consistently pray each night or before meals, forgetting here or there. I never established a daily reading plan to stay in God’s Word and anytime I would try and start, three weeks later I had stopped. I had/have poor self discipline. So what?
You cannot make disciples without discipline.
The call to make disciples has been something that we are rediscovering and redefining in our American Church. We are all called to be disciples and then go make disciples (Matt. 28:18-20). The basic truth is that disciples emulate what you do. You train them to follow Christ and in many cases, follow you as you follow Christ. If we don’t have the self-disicpline to follow Jesus, then why do we think our disciples will? Parents, if you don’t have the discipline to read and pray every day, then why do you think your kids will? Peers, if we don’t have the discipline to study God’s Word or attend class, then why do we think our friends will? This aspect of self-discipline overflows into all areas of out life and all the people we are surrounded by. Most importantly, if we want to reach people for Jesus, then we have to be self-discipline in our own following of Him.
Well, now I get to tell you what a miracle God did. Now facing practical ministry and real life fast approaching God really began impressing upon my heart that I need to become more self-disciplined. I need to return to a basic truth of following Jesus. In letting the Word really change me, along with my wife Ruth, have began to read our Bible daily and journal. I don’t know how to journal. I didn’t even know where to start, but God is teaching me. Something even stranger has happened; I am getting up on my own to attend a class that I am not paying for, but am willfully going to learn. Did I mention it’s at 8am. Other disciplines have taken hold such as, no TV during dinner and no technology for 1 hour after waking up to spend time with God.
If we want to begin making disciples and spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ, it starts with our own self-discipline to desire God and foster our relationship with Him. Our focus and our desires must turn from us to God and get back to the basic truth of personally spending time with Him.