As I reflect on my discipleship journey, it is one that is far from linear. It looked more like a web, intertwined with many significant people. Some journeyed with me for days, others, years. Many overlapped each other. Let me share three significant ones and how they impacted me.
Due to the big age gap between my siblings and I, my mom would usually bring me along wherever she went. One family friend would often invite my mother to come along on home visitations. We would sing hymns, read bible passages and pray for the ones we visited. Sometimes we went round fetching people in her minibus and headed to the beach to eat and have fun. I would later find out that many of these people came from broken homes and this was her way of including them in a community.
Fast forward to life as a teenager. We were blessed with a dynamic youth pastor that restructured how youth ministry was run. He observed our strengths and entrusted us with roles that no one else would. He taught us the Word and made it exciting. We grew – in numbers and in knowledge. One of the pivotal things he did for me was to bring me to the Campus Crusade warehouse back when it was in Toa Payoh. He showed me where to go ‘fishing’. I was hungry for God’s Word but reading the bible was too difficult for me. So Christian literature was like minced meat for this growing bird.
As a young adult I left YCKC for a period of time, heartbroken. But God had a plan. With my youth pastor’s understanding, I uprooted to a new church. It was there, I saw the Word of God come alive. It was living, breathing, and active! Our pastor was like a walking bible concordance. Oh, but it did not stop there. Word came alive in deed. And he brought the small church on this journey. There we learnt how to fast and pray, witness to strangers, activate God’s truth in our own lives. We were filled, and we had more than enough to overflow into the lives of those around us. We learnt what it meant to truly love God, and love His Word. And through that love, we desired to be obedient to God. And for the first time in my life, turning away from sin was doable!
Jesus said to his disciples “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). The key to keeping His commands was love for Him! But you can only love Him, if you know Him.
Friends, discipleship is exciting! It is doable! I pray that you will ask God for someone to intentionally journey with you. It does not have to look like my journey, but boldly take that first step! You may face some false starts or inertia but press on and do not give up!
If I could breakdown my discipleship journey it would probably look like this:
- Pray and approach a mature, God-loving Christian to disciple you
- Devour God’s word daily! – bible, books, podcasts, hymns, memory verses
- Learn how to pray using God’s promises – e.g. “Father, you said in your word that you are my strong tower, help me to choose to seek refuge in you.”
- Do what they do, together – visit the sick, pray for the grieving, befriend the rejected, see how they maintain relationships etc.
- Keep asking questions, keep learning and put them into practice – that’s how we grow!
- Set aside time for rest – renew your mind with God’s truths, make time for fun
“Healthy people have a healthy appetite” if you do not hunger for God’s Word then I appeal to you, assess your spiritual health condition. This is one of the few things I would ever encourage you to be discontented with.
Clarine Tan (Pastoral Staff)