A few months ago I sent out an email to my readers asking them to share their number one problem when it comes to making disciples. I received many, many emails. A number of different themes came up as I read through them, but one thing in particular stood out. A large number of you feel personally responsible when the people you are discipling either lose interest in, or turn away from God.
While it is very important to recognize that we do have a part in the discipleship process, it is equally important to recognize that we don’t carry the full responsibility for it alone.
Don’t let Satan try to tell you that you are not good enough, smart enough, or spiritual enough to disciple someone – it’s a lie.
The truth is there are three roles in the discipleship process. There is our role, their (the disciples) role, and God’s role. The Key Truth that I want you to take away from this is that we can and should only take responsibility for our part.
Now, I am certainly not saying that we can’t grow and become more skilled at what we do. We can. But there are a number of possible reasons for why a person might not respond positively to the gospel message, or to our encouragement or direction. For instance – in the case of witnessing to a lost person, perhaps we were trying to force something on the person that God was not in on. I’m not saying that God wants anyone to be lost – he doesn’t. But He does know each person’s heart. We may be only one in a series of steps they will go through before they surrender to God. Or it could be that God IS working in their heart, but they are the one holding back and refusing to respond.
We even have an example in the Bible of this happening to Jesus. In Matthew 19:16-22, a rich young man came and asked Jesus what he needed to do to inherit eternal life. Jesus, knowing the young man’s heart, responded to him with truth and love, putting his finger right on the problem. The young man didn’t respond to the offer to become a disciple of Jesus. He chose to stay with what he knew and was comfortable with, rather than follow Jesus. Had Jesus failed because the man didn’t follow Him? Had he done His part perfectly? I trust you know that answer to those questions.
God is not dependent on our perfection to win someone He is working on. He is also not dependent on us to disciple someone perfectly.
God is not dependent on our perfection to win someone He is working on. That is so important I want you to read it again! God does not need us to perform perfectly in order to win someone to Him. He is also not dependent on us to disciple someone perfectly. This is where we go wrong every time. We forget that the people we disciple are not our disciples; they are Jesus’. And He will never stop working on them.
We forget that the people we disciple are not our disciples; they are Jesus’. And He will never stop working on them.
Don’t let Satan try to tell you that you are not good enough, smart enough, or spiritual enough to disciple someone – it’s a lie. We can’t do the other persons part and we certainly can’t do God’s part. But we can only do our part- and God has, and will continue to, equip us for our part and for the work He has called us to do.
By Jim Putman. Used with permission.