One of the 1st questions many new believers ask after becoming a Christian is “What should I do to grow as a Christian?” A better question to ask is “What should I be?” God has not called us to be human doings but human being! The identity God would have us to experience is the identity of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Developing the character and nature of Jesus Christ into our daily walk is usually achieved through the process of discipleship. Discipleship is not about programming or curriculum, it’s about relationship. Developing people who reflect the image of Christ into a dark and dying world is an intensely personal activity that doesn’t usually occur in large crowds. Think of the 12 men Jesus invested the majority of His ministry teaching, instructing and shaping their lives. Of those 12, He selected 3 men who He even spent more time with refining and developing. Peter and John would go on to write a good portion of the New Testament. James would be the 1st of the apostles to be put to death for His faith in Jesus Christ.
The writer of Proverbs tells us in the 3rd chapter, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” (v. 5-6, NIV). When we come to faith in Christ in a saving way all of us have been leaning on our own understanding. We have to unlearn or de-program our brains from all the stuff that would keep us from reflecting the image of Christ. That’s why the process of disciple-making is so important. We need someone who we can trust and who can trust us to hold us accountable, challenge the blind spots in our lives and invest time and energy so we can be all we can be in Christ. Satan is committed to robbing us and disrupting our identity in Christ. He doesn’t want Christians who are mature and walking with Christ daily. He seeks to keep us enslaved to our flesh and to our self-centered thought processes so he can use us to sow seeds of discord and division. That’s where we need others who can challenge Satan’s designs in our lives.
In making disciples we must help people establish and understand their identity in Jesus Christ. We need to encourage the development of the fruit of the Spirit which is a sure sign of maturity in Christ and finally we need to help people in the process of walking daily with Christ. Paul writes in his 2nd letter to the Corinthians in the 10th chapter, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ”, (v. 5 NIV). I like the word “we” in this verse. Paul didn’t say “I” but “we”. If “we” are to demolish arguments and pretension that fight against the knowledge of God and take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ “we” need each other. “We” as Paul says, do this together. I talked a few Sunday evenings ago about the need to find “alien allies” as we travel this foreign land. Christianity is not a solo sport but a team sport where we learn to rely and depend on each other. That’s where being in discipling relationships is so critical for us to be all we can be in the Lord Jesus Christ. How about you? Are you connected to someone who can call you out when they see you going down the path of sin and self-deception?
All praise to God who gives us the victory through the Lord Jesus Christ.
All for Christ,
Pastor Rich Sivo