The first person you need to disciple is yourself. It’s that easy, and it’s that hard.
And perhaps more to the point, we need to learn to let Jesus disciple us. We follow Him. Therefore, in this opening season—and really, in every season thereafter—we need focus on your relationship with Jesus and how to deepen it
But before we even go there, it starts with our identity in Jesus. How did you find Jesus? Where has He already taken you? And are you looking at your experiences through your own lens or through His? Consider this:
- What was your life like before you knew Jesus (or, if you were “raised Christian,” before your faith became personal to you)? What were you like?
- How did God finally get your attention? How did you respond?
- How has your life been different because you know Jesus? What spiritual landmarks in your life can you point to—where you can confidently say, “I know Jesus was in that”?
Now, read John 15:13-16; Romans 8:14-17; 2 Corinthians 5:17-20; and Ephesians 1:11-14 and 2:4-7. And in light of your previous answers—or more to the point, putting your previous answers in the context of what you’ve just read, consider this:
- What do these passages say about who you are in Jesus?
- What encourages you about these verses? What intimidates you? Which ideas you can you just not get your head around? And in all cases, why?
And one more question: How might really understanding and believing what Jesus has done for you change the way you see yourself, God, and others?
Once we know who we are—and who Jesus says we are—it’s that much easier to dig deeper into that, through spiritual disciplines such as prayer, worship, Bible study… and, not least of all, your relationships with other Christians. It’s worth remembering that all of these things can either be acts of worship… or just “self-improvement” (emphasis on “self”). It’s up to us, but we have the Holy Spirit to guide us. We always need to remember that as Christians, we’re always in a spiritual battle, whether we want to acknowledge it or not. Therefore, we need to regularly review the “spiritual weapons” in our stockpile, and consider where we might need an upgrade.
From there, we can fight a much more common and no less important spiritual battle: seeing others as Jesus does. It’s easy to like people who like us, or whom we have things in common with. And let’s face it, it’s hard to like someone who, intentionally or not, has done something to offend us or who seems to put up a block against us. The thing is, Jesus doesn’t just call us to be there for the people we like. We need to remember that God met each of us in our weaknesses and our faults, and that if he can change us he can change anyone. Once we see others the way Jesus sees them, it becomes much easier to share Jesus with them—and to help them to discover the Jesus we already know.
Sound interesting? I hope so, because I’ve just given you a quick overview (and a few sound bites) from Growing in Jesus, Season 1 in the From Disciples to Disciplers series. Visit here (or here for the Kindle version), and enjoy. You won’t be sorry.
Next week, we look at how our relationship with Jesus spills into all our other relationships… or at least should….