Friday, February 8, 2013

Difficult Discipleship

"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" -Matthew 28:19 (NIV)

Help is relative. I find this to be true in all aspects of life. When you think you might be offering what  YOU CONSIDER to be help for someone, they may perceive that you are not or at least not to their expectations. This experience has been observed with my kids (I clean their room and they get mad I "messed it up", at work (a patient who wants "help" but is unwilling to adhere to the recommendations of the doctor) and in ministry (you offer discipleship and relationship but the recipient doesn't want to submit, to change or simply doesn't want what you are offering). 

I love this scene in Jerry McGuire. Both men are frustrated and expect the other to understand their own perspective. It's a great "clip" of humanity and the difficulty of relationships. Both are men are invested, but neither one is hearing what the other one needs or wants. Relationships are rarely easy and I would argue, if it comes too easy then you are not being vulnerable or honest enough in or about that relationship. The truth is we all have something, and I would contend MUCH, to learn and relationships, specifically in marriage and in the fellowship of believers, are intended to offer a balance of gifts, perspectives, experience and leadership. Without is bland, boring and is often lacking perspective or growth. No one goes to a school where the teacher is no more educated than the student. We pursue to learn and get help from those who've studied, those who've practiced and those who know more than ourselves.

What I've observed, so far in my recent experiences, is there are those who ONLY want to be led and those who DON'T want to be led at all. You're probably thinking...duh. But real relationship and discipleship require both. If we just sit around waiting for someone to tell us what to do in our spiritual life, we never learn to decipher the Spirit's voice for ourselves. If we refuse to seek wise and Godly (those two words being key here) counsel and listen to it or flat out refuse to obey the clear commands of scripture , then we miss out on learning...miss out on growing and place ourselves, our desires and our thoughts as an idol before the Lord. 

I share this because I see myself in both the men in this clip. I am frustrated because I long to encourage women for Christ but find that currently, not many want that. I also find that there are very few women who feel it is their responsibility to lead/disciple, even in a sinmple relationship. Our society is generally coming from place of "make me feel better", "make me look better"...but "don't make it hard" and "don't make me change". That's true of the old and young. It's true of the leaders and the followers. Sometimes, it's true of me. 

Let me be clear that it is Christ who works in us to draw out change in us and for His purposes. It is His Spirit inside of us that compels us to even desire it. So, what does that mean for us in the body and in the realm of discipleship? 

This question has and is still clouding my mind. I believe God's Word is clear that we should be:
1. Speaking the Truth of His Word to unbelievers.
2. Instructing and equipping the believers to do the same
3. Being in fellowship and submitting ourselves to Christ and those He has placed in leadership over us

Sitting in church once a week does not fall into these categories. Spending time with people who are only like-minded friends does not either. 

I do not have this all figured out myself. I confess that I struggle with evangelism to the lost. I confess my fear and pride keep me from stepping out most times. BUT, my affections are for Christ and His people and I'm learning how He can use my failings for His glory. The obvious ways to do this is to be in His Word, in prayer BUT the less traveled path by people in the church is to be in genuine discipleship with someone, both in submission to someone AND as an example or guide to someone else. 

I pray for women who genuinely want this. Women who want to lead and women who want to be led. I'm tired of being frustrated yelling out "Help me Help you!!" 

Lord, I need You. I pray for the work of your Spirit to inspire me to seek you more, to be submissive and to see people who desire true discipleship....true discipleship. You're Word and Spirit are complete and I know Lord you do not need my help, but Your Word tells us to be obedient in these areas and God, I pray for a response. Not to me. But to you. I pray that Your Spirit would compel in myself and in other women to desire this and be willing to take a step outside their comfort zone and be vulnerable. Father, I know this will hurt and it may not look like I envision, but I ask that you give me more of You so that I can be faithful to the call. I need courage and I need a patience from you that I do NOT have on my own. I pray for humility and for a heart that loves others more than myself. I ask God that I would have a heart of worship for YOU. 


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