Discipling: Who and what?

We are all disciples of someone or something.  And we are also (whether consciously or purposefully or not) disciplers of someone or something.  A disciple is a follower of someone or something.   I.e., we follow a charismatic leader, a cause, an idea.  In other words, our thoughts and behaviors are inflenced by another.  For example, you may, as I am, be a follower, a disciple of Christ.  His words and actions influence your behavior in matters large and small.  We, in turn, are disciplers (or influencers) of others to the degree that they allow us to influence their thoughts and behaviors.  Normally, when we use the word “disciple” today, we impute a spiritual aspect to influencing or guiding others.  We are disciplers for Christ through our words and actions.  The Bible says that the proof of our Christian discipleship, of our salvation, is shown in our love for our fellow believers (John 13:35).  And Christ said that the greatest commandment included God’s command that we love all others, whether fellow Christians or not (Matthew 22:36-40).  If you have ever shared your personal story of salvation, or lead a Bible study, or asked yourself “what would Jesus do in this situation?” and acted accordingly, or come along side of someone while offering spiritual encouragement during a time of trial or challenge… you have been discipling another person.  So, we are all potential disciplers.  The key is in looking for the opportunities to disciple, and being aware of those opportunities that present themselves.  Discipler to a friend or relative going through a time of personal grief or a workplace setback.  Discipler to someone, perhaps a neighbor or coworker, suffering from situational depression or anxiety, or the spouse of such a person.  Discipler to someone who just needs a friend or a bit of encouragement at this moment in time.  You don’t have to have the answers to their specific problem, but you can walk alongside them, listen compassionately and point them toward the One who does have the answers (“the way, the truth and the life” John 14:6), and encourage, uplift and befriend them, even just for this moment in time, at their moment of need, your moment of opportunity.  To re-purpose a real estate sales mantra, “People won’t care what or Who you know, until they know that you care!”  Who disciples?  You and I.  What do we disciple?  The love of Christ.        Next blog entry: “How to disciple a total stranger (even if you are terminally timid)…”


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