Simple living. That is what you find in rural America. Life slows down a bit and things are more simple. When it comes to our spiritual pursuit of God we can find ourselves lost in the complexity of theology but we must march on until we arrive at the simple truth. The Bible gives us the truth for discipleship along with a picture of it. As you look at the life of Jesus in the Gospels, three simple essentials of Biblical Discipleship rise to the surface.
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” - Hebrews 4:12-13 ESV
Discipleship is all about becoming more like Jesus and helping others do the same. The Scriptures reveal to us the life changing gospel of Jesus Christ. At the core of disciple making is a teaching of the Bible in belief and practice. The study of scripture, the reading of scripture, the memorizing of scripture, and the teaching of scripture must be at the forefront of our lives. Our growth comes from the Holy Spirit impressing truth upon our hearts and minds. The more our lives are founded on and lived out of truth the more fullness of life we will experience and the more effective we will be. God’s Word is nourishment to our bones, food for our soul; it is sustaining and empowering. Our role as disciples is to recognize what the word of God is saying to us and rightfully respond in obedience. Truth reveals our blind spots and our weaknesses so that our mighty God may be glorified.
After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go. And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Carry no moneybag, no knapsack, no sandals, and greet no one on the road. - Luke 10:1-4 ESV
Every believer is called to do ministry. We are to be hands and feet in building God’s kingdom. Many people have a desire to do ministry but lack understanding and skills. Often times that is because there has been a failure to teach theory and practice. It is easy to tell someone to do ministry but is the additional step of showing someone how to do ministry there? The disciples watched and learned as Jesus went from village to village preaching, teaching, healing, loving, providing, caring, serving, and saving. Then he sent his disciples out to do the same. He showed them what it looks like to do ministry and then he sent them out, empowered by the Spirit to do it.
In addition to being taught and shown ministry it is important to begin to figure out how God has wired you. For us to know our gifts, passions, and callings is important. This often directs us into the best and most effective type of ministry for us. However, don’t spend all your time trying to figure it out, get out there and watch people do ministry and then try it.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. - Romans 12:2
…And he said this plainly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” - Mark 8:32b-33 ESV
This is where many Christians stop. This is the hard part. No one wants to be called “Satan.” No one likes to look in the mirror and see that nasty zit or those gray hairs starting to show. We don’t like to see our blemishes because they make us feel inadequate and insecure. We have bought into a lie that life is about us looking good. The truth is life is about our heart being transformed and our mind being renewed so that our character begins to resemble Christ more and more. As believers we are to be conformed to the image of Christ; to look more like him, to act more like him, and to treat people like he did. It is not okay to tolerate sin in our lives. True discipleship allows one another to speak the truth of Scripture to one another while challenging them to repent from and fight sin. We need to allow a community to get close enough to see our blind spots. We need to invite others to speak into our lives even when it hurts.