The Discipleship Paradigm

Been thinking about the total package of following Jesus. including helping others walk with Him. What all does discipleship entail? What paradigm must I switch to in order to go from a weekend-only Christian to an everyday, on-fire follower of Jesus?

Here are a few short musings of mine on the various layers of living a passionate, sold-out life for Jesus:

The COST of Discipleship- following Jesus and helping others to do the same requires sacrifice of time, energy, and resources. And it’s much more serious that just that. Whether in life or in death, discipleship also costs you your life.

The JOY of Discipleship- following Jesus and helping others to do the same taps into a wellspring of soul-level blessing, allowing you and those you influence to experience ridiculous amounts of joy that can only come from God. As we grow in closeness with Jesus, we see our lives change from the inside out. As we help others grow, we have front-row seats to the work of God in the lives of those we are investing in!

The ACHE of Discipleship- The more time I have walked with Jesus, one thing consistently comes into clearer focus- my permanent need for a Savior. We must live in the tension of, on one hand, seeing God work in our hearts and change us, but on the other hand, seeing our sinful selves resist those very changes. From here until the grave, we wear an earthsuit that is soiled with sin. We are bent toward selfishness. As the Holy Spirit works in us, we will definitely see our character change. But until we are perfected on the day of His coming, we must live with the ache of following Jesus and helping others do the same IMPERFECTLY. We long for home, and we ache.

The TOOLS of Discipleship- In order to follow Jesus and to help others do the same, we must have love. Love for God, love for people, a love for God’s Word, and a love for prayer. These ingredients will open your eyes to God’s priorities.

The POWER for Discipleship- Galatians 2:20 shows us that the Christian is no longer on his own to try to live, but by the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus lives THROUGH us! There is only One who can successfully live the Christian life, and that’s Christ Himself. Our feeble attempts are powerless and can lead to frustration for us and heartbreak for God. Pray and ask the Lord to live through you as you follow Him and help others do the same.

The PASSION of Discipleship- As we grow closer and closer with Christ, we can’t help but be involved in His work here on earth. Whether you are a pastor or a painter, a church planter or a chiropractor, we all are on a mission from God. The idea that we should leave ministry up to the professional clergy is ludicrous and lazy. We each are especially equipped with GIFTS and OPPORTUNITIES in order for us to reach the world for Jesus. Let the Holy Spirit take you where He wants you to be. Don’t be afraid. Passionately follow the footsteps of Christ!


2 thoughts on “The Discipleship Paradigm

  1. Growing up, “discipleship” was understood to be something the pastor did, in our faith it always seemed incomprehensable to me how he would “get it done” if he was only there once, maybe twice a month. The elder and deacon roles were not very well understood or conveyed either. “The leaders” in my mind pertained to the elders and deacons and the role which they performed, “lay members” were obviously us, the pew dwellers but it was the “pastor and leaders” responsibility to tell us what needed to be done. There was never much emphasis on the actual members of the church doing anything other than agreeing with and promoting what the conference, pastors and elders approved of, put to motion by the deacons and motivated “lay members.” “We’re gonna have a Seminar!” Great!!! “We need to get flyers in the Post Office, Supermarkets, Pawn Shops, Libraries, local businesses and Convenience stores. Mass mailing would be the least troubling and it would gaurantee each individual in the community got an invitation.” Personal interaction, being intentional, and development/maintanence of relationships with the “unconverted, unsaved, unchurched” was never part of our training. Still today to a lesser degree that is true in a lot of “dieing” churches in the west.. The message has always been the same but the more it is taught the less it is understood. We as individuals are and may often times be the closest to and only representation of what “the Church” and being a follower of Christ is all about for people we come in contact with. Everyone is a potential “disciple” and everyone is a potential “discipler.” Being a disciple is first, like Christ said, about being humble. It’s not about teaching others to do something for God but rather showing how to humble oneself in a personal relational manner to show them what God has done for you. Great word my brother.

    Grace and Shalom,
    Brother Joel

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