#servetogrow part 7
When I started this #servetogrow series, I began to make a case that discipleship didn’t just involve studying God’s Word. I proposed a theory that serving others brings spiritual growth in our lives. As I wrap up this series today, I’d like to revisit that theory and see if our perspective has changed over these last six blog posts.
The most popular definition of discipleship involves sitting down in groups and studying the Bible. That is what we picture when we hear the word discipleship. If we look up the definition of (lower case) disciple, it is defined as “any follower of Christ.”
Discipleship is learning how to follow Christ.
I want to point out what an active verb that “follow” is. When we picture the word “follow” in our minds, we don’t see someone sitting at a desk or sitting with a book, do we?
Let me be clear that the Bible is the clearest way we can know the character and commands of Christ. It is our training book for being right with God. It is infallible. It is our teacher. It is what equips us for every good work.
Studying God’s word is clearly necessary to learn how to follow Christ, but I believe it is just a piece of discipleship.
There are so many active things that we can do to actually be a disciple, and we don’t just immediately know how to do these things once we’ve prayed to receive Christ. Sharing your faith, sharing your testimony, leading a friend to know Christ, serving the orphan or widow, feeding His sheep, and doing justice work are all pieces of being a disciple, and those actions take practice. There is a learning curve to both studying God’s Word and putting action to God’s Word.
As you attempt to do the things disciples do, you will naturally rely on God’s Word for help, encouragement, instruction, and support. As we feel ill-equipped to live out our call as a disciple, we will naturally lean into His Word.
The biggest encouragement to becoming a self-feeder with a good grasp on scripture is heart-felt need in your daily life as a disciple. We all start out as a spiritual newborn, but as we serve, learn, and grow, our hope is to move forward from milk to solid, self-fed food.
If we agree that being a disciple involves more than just studying the Bible, we should agree that discipleship should involve more than just studying the Bible.
But where do we start?
If we go to God’s Word, we can find plenty of commands for disciples who are following Christ.
We can look to the Great Commission and know every disciple should be going into the world to make other disciples. We can look to commands about justice and spend time feeding the poor, caring for the fatherless, serving the widows. We can look to examples of actions of His sheep in Matthew 25 and feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, visit the sick, and visit the imprisoned.
The key to this is to do it together with other disciples. As you serve together, the more mature Christians will be put into a natural position to mentor and disciple the less mature Christians. Together they become The Church practicing being disciples.
Most local churches offer discipleship weekends that have sessions of teaching. Wouldn’t it be crazy to offer a discipleship weekend that involved feeding the poor, clothing refugees, visiting a prison, praying with the sick, or just fishing for men? The benefit would not just be for those served, but also for those serving. The act of serving will lead to learning more about following Jesus.
I cannot miss this opportunity to point out how important the Great Commission is in our walk following Jesus. We are all commanded to make disciples, and when we lead someone to make the decision to follow Christ, we have made a disciple.
It is only God who saves, but He allows us to be a part of this process of making disciples because He cares about our obedience.
There is nothing on this Earth that makes me feel like the least-equipped, least-knowledgable Christian ever than talking to another person about salvation. As we do this uncomfortable, challenging work of sharing the path to salvation with others, we will never feel more lead to dive into studying and know God’s Word.
Discipleship involves both studying and doing the Word.
Doing the Word will drive you to study the Word, and studying the Word should drive you to doing the Word.
Let’s change our view of discipleship and begin serving to grow!
I like to share a song with every blog post. I love how deep & full of truth Christian rap is. It is comforting to me on days when my heart is so heavy for my city.
"Lord give me an explanation for your grace
So I can have an answer when they're starring in my face
Not an answer for the question but answer for the cancer
Like why me and my darkest thoughts are always so romantic? Huh?
Why do I love what you hate?
Why does my obedience come and go?
I need the combination to the safe
Lord I pray you show yourself to the lost
And give the streets a revelation of the cross"