“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, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matt 28:19-20)
Many believers after a while may forget about the Great Commission given by our Lord Jesus, especially in the area of making disciples of all nations. It is good if all of us can reflect on our position as the church steps into its 63rd year.
It would be useful to know the difference between discipleship and disciple-making. I would like to quote the definition given by Mogan Mannar: “Discipleship is the personal spiritual journey that a Christian takes. It relates to his personal walk with Christ and his becoming a disciple. It has to do with his devotional life, his prayer life and his engagement with the world around him as being both salt and light.”
“Disciple-making is the process where a person helps another, not only mature as a disciple, but also become equipped to repeat this process. In other words, disciple-making is helping another person become a disciple maker. This process when not modelled and taught can appear daunting to any believer.”
It is clear to us that a disciple maker has to be a good model and teacher so that his/her disciples can see and follow. Just like what Apostle Paul said: “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” (1 Cor 11:1)
First of all, a disciple-maker has to be a disciple of Jesus who desires to build up a close relationship with Him, spends time with Him in his prayer life and reads the Word of God. The disciple is always available to communicate with God wherever he is. He always puts God first above other things including doing service for God.
If we do not spend enough time talking with God in prayer, we are in turn starving God of the opportunities to talk to us through the reading of His Word. The devil is very subtle to use our busyness to keep us from focusing on God. He knows that if we get caught up with doing many things and helping many people, we will neglect to spend time with God. If this is allowed to go on long enough we would become ineffective in our work.
God looks forward to commune with us. I believe God desires quality rather than quantity. It would be good to set aside our best time for Him. The quality time would be a time when there is no distraction and when our heart has quietened down. It may be early in the morning or late at night. For me I would prefer to do it before bedtime. I would like my mind to be saturated with the Word of God before retiring to bed.
We could try using a different Bible Translation to aid us in our Bible reading. It would enrich our understanding of the Word of God. For some of us who are multilingual, the use of Bible written in another language would also stir our mind and help us grow spiritually.
As a disciple-maker, one has to train him/herself to be a mature disciple of Jesus. Therefore let us encourage one another to strengthen our discipleship on a daily basis. Prov 27:17 says: “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” This means the disciple-maker can sharpen the disciples through his/her modelling and teaching in life, and the disciples can also sharpen their mentors.
I believe that God is looking for us to take action using what we have learned and not to store the knowledge we have gained. Let us not wait any further to build spiritual friendship with believers and to start the adventure of disciple-making.
By Yue Fah Yong (YCKC Bulletin 7&8 October 2017)