Discipleship has never been about making someone a disciple of Jesus who only reads their Bible and goes to church occasionally.
Rather, ideally, discipleship has no definite end.
“Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.” – 2 Timothy 2:2b
So here are 3 reasons Christians should become disciples and 3 reasons why they should disciple others:
Paul poured himself into Timothy.
He cared about Timothy as if he were his own son. However, Paul never intended that Timothy should be the last one to hear what he had to say.
Paul taught Timothy in order for Timothy to teach someone else, who would teach someone else, who would teach someone else, and so on and so on…
Praise the Lord for people like Timothy who continued in the ministry to present the gospel to the desperate and the dying.
Before understanding the importance of discipleship, we must first understand what it is.
By definition, discipleship is simply when a follower of Christ models to another person how to live like Christ and look to Him more every day.
This usually consists of studying God’s Word, as well as experiencing life together in order to fully show how a Christ-centered life should look.
That’s discipleship in a nutshell.
Why does it matter? Why should we care?
First of all, Jesus Himself commissioned His followers to make disciples of all nations in Matthew 28:18-20:
“Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
This command alone should be enough for believers to step out of their comfort zones and begin teaching others how to live like Christ. Unfortunately, many Christians see this and assume that it is for someone else – not them.
There are 2 different parts to discipleship: The person who disciples and the person who is discipled.
So then, why would you want to be discipled?
1. Humans were never meant to be alone.
In Genesis, God states that it is not good for man to be alone. Even nonbelievers will tell you that it’s better to be with others than by yourself.
Life is hard. If every one of us went through life alone, we wouldn’t learn from anyone, nor would we find anyone who was going through or had gone through the same struggles.
2. People have a tendency to sin. A lot.
Discipleship is a great time to talk about the sins for which you have the greatest temptations.
When you keep your sins in secret, it’s much easier to continue in your sin yet still put on a “perfect” Christian face. This is where accountability comes in.
Accountability allows for people to keep up with how others are growing in their faith and help others work to overcome those sins.
When I was keeping my sin secret and hidden from those who knew me best, I was hurting myself as I continued in that sin. However, when I confessed it to a large group of friends, I had a huge release and I haven’t indulged in that sin since.
In 1 John 1:9, John says that, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
So when we confess our sins to each other, and to God, He will forgive us.
3. You can never know enough about God or His Word.
An infinite God has an infinite number of unanswered questions about Him. Discipleship can be a time to discuss those uncertainties and see what the Bible says about it.
When I first went to college, I thought I had everything figured out. So much so, I was worried that I was not going to find people who knew as much about the Bible as I did. Boy, was I wrong.
I have never been so humbled so quickly. As an 18-year-old, there were so many things I hadn’t seen or experienced. Those whom I met during my early years had so much wisdom I had never dreamed of having.
When they discipled me, I learned very quickly how little I really knew, and yet, eventually, my pride still tried to convince me there was nothing left to learn. This is a constant struggle to this day, so I try to have my discipler keep me in check..
I could study God’s Word 24/7 and still learn things about His character and how to live like Jesus.
We can never reach total understanding of our God on this side of heaven, but we can still seek Him and His ways until the day we leave this earth for good.
When we are discipled, people pour their wisdom into us just like pouring water into a cup. But what happens when you keep pouring water into a cup? It overflows out of the cup.
This is when we move on to discipling others.
But why would we want to disciple others?
1. Your testimony is more relatable than you think.
The enemy tries to convince us that we don’t experience the same sins or the same tough times as others.
When we disciple others, we have the opportunity to share how the Lord pulled us through even when we had no idea where to go. On many occasions, we are able to share advice with others on how to trust the Lord in a particular situation.
When I shared my sins with the others I discipled, I learned that they had gone through similar sins in their lives and we were able to discuss them as well as their impact on us.
2. A cup that overflows is better off flowing into another cup.
If I have someone constantly teaching me, I soak it up like a sponge. Just like a sponge, I will reach a point where I need to wring it out so I can start soaking up more.
If we learn how to live like Christ, but don’t put it into action and begin to make disciples of others, then we aren’t really living like Christ. Like a cup that overflows or a sponge that has as much water as it can hold, we get to the point where we need to release what we’ve learned.
By the grace of God, we can learn about Him and how to live like Him – but if we just keep everything to ourselves, we have failed in actually living like Jesus, who taught everywhere he went.
3. The gospel was never meant to end with you.
In Matthew 24, Jesus states that the end will come after every nation has heard the gospel message, and since Jesus also said to make disciples of all nations, we should disciple others until the end.
Discipleship has never been about making a disciple of Jesus who only reads their Bible and goes to church occasionally. Rather, discipleship has no definite end.
I mention this again because we should not aim to just read our Bibles and go to church. Instead, we should aim to show others how to live like Christ.
So if you don’t have someone discipling you, pray that God will bring you someone who will pour their knowledge and wisdom into you.
And if you aren’t discipling anyone, pray that God will bring someone you can teach, who can then teach someone else.