Having three children, I am learning that the process of discipleship is a lot like raising my kids; to equip my children for all of life’s issues and to help them become fully mature, I must to be there for them. We have a relationship and I have to be intentional in my efforts.
Something I learned in athletics is that you can never go any higher than your headship and that wherever your head goes your body follows. In essence, the more effective those you join with, the more effective your growth will be. However, our tendency is to associate with those who are like us – they strengthen and reinforce my belief system whether good or bad. We also don’t like to submit to godly counsel. To live an examined life is the hallmark of integrity and spiritual maturity. To submit our lives to God and other more spiritually mature believers is a very humbling experience and process. To ask another person for their godly advise is expressed wisdom. There is strength in numbers.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).
“Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character” (1 Corinthians 15:33).
”He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm” (Proverbs 13:20).
A disciple-maker is a person whom you intentionally enter into a personal relationship with and who can help you grow in every area of your life (spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, physically, etc.). It is someone who:
Will encourage you.
We tend to become what the most important person in our lives thinks we’ll become. Great instructors are those who bring out the best in us. They are great encouragers.
Will confront you.
Proverbs 27:5,6 says, “Open rebuke is better than secret love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” This is someone who knows that loving confrontation develops a person and that criticism destroys a person. It is someone who knows that to critique is to criticize. He or she will hold you accountable while demonstrating a spirit of mutual submission and humility. A disciple-maker is a person in your life who will ask you the hard questions like: “Are you walking in the Spirit?” Or, “Are you blameless before God and man – are there any known offenses in your life?” Or, “Are you involved in anything that would bring harm to Jesus’ name such as sexual immorality?” Disciple-makers know the point is always restoration and patiently work to that end. Disciple-makers are people who earn your trust in time; they become trustworthy allies.
Will intercede for you.
A disciple-maker is bold in their witness, passionate about God’s promises, committed to but humble in their relationships with others. They act as a bridge between God and those they are praying for and are bonded together with those they are discipling. They are faithful (2 Timothy 2:2), obedient to God’s Word (John 8:31), loving (John 13:35), and fruitful (John 15:8).
Will be your lifelong partner.
Just as I will always be my children’s dad, likewise, I have made life-long commitments to those the Lord has entrusted to me as His disciples. It is in knowing that I have this responsibility and great privilege that brings a heightened sense of accountability. Conception is the stuff of God; parenting is a life-long partnership (Hebrews 13:5).