THE DEFINITION OF DISCIPLESHIP
Encourage one another, and build up one another, just as you also are doing
Jesus' primary call to His disciples is seen in His words "Come to Me" (Matthew 11:28
) and "Follow Me" (Matthew 4:19
). Mark records: "He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him, and that He might send them out to preach, and to have authority to cast out the demons" (Mark 3:14
, 15). Notice that Jesus' relationship with His disciples preceded His assignment to them. Discipleship is the intensely personal activity of two or more persons helping each other experience a growing relationship with God. Discipleship is being before doing, maturity before ministry, character before career.
Every Christian, including you, is both a disciple and a discipler in the context of his Christian relationships. You have the awesome privilege and responsibility both to be a teacher and a learner of what it means to be in Christ, walk in the spirit and live by faith
. You may have a role in your family, church or Christian community which gives you specific responsibility for discipling others, such as husband/father, pastor, Sunday school teacher, discipleship group leader, etc. But even as an appointed discipler, you are never not a disciple who is learning and growing in Christ through your relationships. Conversely, you may not have an "official" responsibility to disciple anyone, but you are never not a discipler. You have the opportunity to help your children, your friend, and other believers grow in Christ through your caring and committed relationship with them.
Similarly, every Christian is both a counselor and counselee in the context of his Christian relationships. A good counselor should be a good discipler, and a good discipler should be a good counselor. Biblically, they are the same role. Your level of maturity may dictate that you do a lot of Christian counseling. But there will still be times when you need to seek or receive the counsel of other Christians. There will never be a day when we don't need each other.
Prayer: Father, help me remember that I will never be so mature that I need not receive godly counsel from my brothers and sisters in Christ.
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