The Perfect Lie of Discipleship
Congratulations! You want to disciple someone.
There is no greater ministry work than helping another to trust and follow Jesus.
If you read Titus 2, you’ll discover all the ways you can teach another woman to love the Lord. Assisting the Lord to grow another woman in faith is the most rewarding ministry of all. But taking that first step can be a hard one. It’s not just concern over whom to invite into this spiritual relationship. Oftentimes, we can be our worst enemy and it begins with our mind.
Let me guess, just minutes after your decision to disciple, thoughts begin swirling in your head. Just days later, the voice in your head becomes louder than the Lord’s still, small voice. Instead, you hear a thousand worrisome and anxiety-riddled thoughts that sound right and true, but I promise you they’re not.
I bet I know exactly what you’re hearing:
- “I can’t teach about Jesus when I haven’t had formal lessons.”
- “I can’t share from the Bible. I don’t know enough.”
- “I can’t encourage holy living when I’m a hypocrite.”
- “I can’t warn someone not to do the things I once did.”
The common denominator in each thought is this, I can’t because I’m not perfect.
Perfection is the biggest lie of discipleship.
When my kids were very small, I was not a Christian. So, they can clearly remember my years without Jesus. They also remember my years with Jesus. They could easily say I was a hypocrite living differently than I once did and using God’s Word as my parenting handbook.
Even with the Lord today, I still fail and confess sinful behavior. I will until the day I die. It would’ve been easy to rely only on the church alone to teach my children, but that’s not what the Lord asks me to do.
“My son, keep your father’s commandment, and forsake not your mother’s teaching” (Proverbs 6:20).
If you are a parent, you’re already training and teaching them. You are discipling whether you want to or not. The key is to disciple intentionally. You are modeling a lifestyle your kids are watching. This is the same model for the women you disciple. As the women lean on you, you lean on Jesus until they’re leaning on Him on their own.
Once you make a commitment to begin pouring into other women, your words and actions will play a big part of the success of discipleship. So, I thought I’d share a little truth to erase the stinkin’ thinkin’ that lies to you and says you can’t because you’re not perfect.
“I can’t teach about Jesus when I haven’t had formal lessons.”
Nowhere in the Bible does the Lord tell us we need a Dallas Theological Seminary degree to share the gospel. As a matter of fact, the apostles He chose to personally disciple alongside Him were mostly fisherman and the most despised of all—a tax collector. Yet the Lord saw in them the desire to be discipled (taught) and their future as disciplemakers themselves.
“I can’t share from the Bible because I don’t know enough about the Bible.”
Thankfully, discipleship relationships are for the Lord to guide. He equips your every need. Remember, this is not about you, it’s about Him. Humility is a necessity for those times you say or do something wrong. Transparent faith is the mark of a great disciplemaker. It’s that transparent faith that acts like a magnet drawing those who love Him into your sphere of influence. It’s laying yourself out there for God’s glory and the benefit of the women.
“When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.” – Luke 12:11-12
“I can’t encourage holy living when I’m a hypocrite.”
We are all hypocrites at one time or another. Thank God for confession and forgiveness. But make sure your life is full of what you’re teaching the women in your group. Encouraging them to be in their Bible daily or memorizing scripture should be something you do right along with them.
“You are God’s chosen people. You are holy and dearly loved. So put on tender mercy and kindness as if they were your clothes. Don’t be proud. Be gentle and patient. Put up with one another. Forgive one another if you are holding something against someone. Forgive, just as the Lord forgave you. And over all these good things put on love. Love holds them all together perfectly as if they were one.” – Colossians 3:12-14
“I can’t warn someone not to do the things I once did.”
Yes you can. Sin is sin and it’s to be cautioned against. I lied as a child but still taught my kids that lying is wrong. I lived with a man before I married, but I encourage every woman I disciple to follow God’s rules of relationship and marriage. You can most definitely tell someone not to partake in sin, even if that very sin ensnared the better part of your own life. Don’t allow shame to overshadow discipleship. Once you’ve confessed and asked the Lord’s forgiveness, you are righteous in His eyes. Teach and preach on!
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” – Romans 8:1-4
Don’t be discouraged when wrong thoughts pop up every now and then. Even when you’ve been discipling awhile, you will share something or encourage in some way and those thoughts of perfection will steal what you want to say or do.
Remember, Jesus is the only perfect model and example for each of us.
When we trust His Word more than our own and can express tender humility as we point to Him, He allows us to partake in discipling others. What a gift to be able to disciple women with all the forgiven sins and scars we bear. Don’t let perfection win. Replace the lie of being perfect with the truth of God’s perfect son Jesus.
(For more from Joanne check out her website DiscipleshipforWomen.com.)