Discipling is defined as the action of making a person into a disciple or follower of Christ. Below are some of the lessons I have learnt in my recent and ongoing assignment.
“Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.” 2 Timothy 2:10
In discipling, the price to pay usually includes an occasional inconvenience or sacrifice. But what if God asks us to put our own lives on hold and devote 100% 24/7 to coming alongside someone? Yes, just one single person, not a tribe. Is it a far-fetched idea? God who did not spare His own Son to save us, it is then not at all surprising to see that in His pursuit for sinners to be reconciled to Himself, He will not spare any means in redeeming His elect. Would we then who have been saved by His grace, limit or pick and choose His assignment for us? There is no sacrifice that is too much to make for God’s elect.
“See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God…” Hebrews 12:15
In the process of discipling someone, often, if the person chooses not to obey God’s word, at most, we feel sad as we know they may suffer the consequences of their disobedience. But what if their disobedience also jeopardises or affects you greatly? Not once, not twice, but thrice! Each time with even more severe consequences. Would you still be standing by the person? No one can carry out the task of a discipler without first being plugged into God every day. It is God who opened my eyes to see His grace upon my disciple. While He used His Word to rebuke my disciple, He did not spare me either. When I was ready to throw in the towel, He used Hebrews 12:15 to remind me that being a recipient of His grace myself, I too should see to it that no one is deprived of it. God was telling me very clearly that He was not giving up on my disciple regardless of what she had done, and leaving her was not an option for me regardless of what I had to endure. That’s when I saw how fierce and steadfast God’s love and grace is for each of His children.
“Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently.” Galatians 6:1a
The two things that stand out in my weaknesses list would be impatience and lack of gentleness. Through my discipling journey, God is also using the assignment to work on these particular weaknesses of mine. There were several times that I lost my cool. Even though I had very valid reason to get mad but like the usual, God used the material in my devotional to point out my sin, clearly and pointedly that I had failed miserably to restore my disciple gently. In fact, by failing to do so, I had hurt the person deeply, and frustrated the effort of restoring the person, which were both deemed as sin that grieved God. That moment, was the turning point of my transformation. Not only did God convict me of my sins but He had given me a clear understanding behind His advice in Galatians 6:1a the need to restore a person gently, for when a person loses his temper, he also loses the power to persuade. In other words, the right advice delivered with the wrong tone will fall on deaf ears and a hardened heart. I asked for her forgiveness and our relationship was restored immediately. In fact, asking for forgiveness had shown to my disciple that God truly sees and cares for her.
…God doesn’t call us to be comfortable. He calls us to trust Him so completely that we are unafraid to put ourselves in situations where we will be in trouble if he doesn’t come through. Francis Chan
This assignment of mine is unique to me in that my disciple’s insurmountable problem has also become mine to bear as a result of our relationship. Coming alongside my disciple hence becomes a testing of my faith that surpasses anything I had gone through in my life thus far. Although what Francis Chan said is true, many of us believers if given a choice, would think umpteen times before putting ourselves in that predicament. In fact, I have to be pushed into it. I would not have volunteered myself. But through the one year and a half years journey, I could only taste God’s goodness and His faithfulness. He knows the storm that my disciple and I are in and has never left His eyes on us. Every day, He strengthens us with His Word and He gives us His promises to hold. God’s promise in Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand,” becomes our refuge and strength.
While the journey of discipling still continues to this day, and we are not out of the woods yet, I have learnt that as compared to the “price” I have paid for discipling her, the prize that I get from it, is much, much more! I would not have learnt all these valuable lessons mentioned above on top of having the opportunity to hone my faith have I not been assigned to this task of discipling. Moreover, through my experience, I have witnessed first-hand the power of God in redeeming the lost and His tireless work in turning someone into His disciple. Thank You Lord for using Your inadequate servant and journeying with me through it all.
By sister Suzanna Harjadi