You Are Called
The “start something” of discipleship, or the practical side of discipleship, can be difficult at times because it is the groundwork of discipleship. Day-to-day thoughts, prayers, and behaviors lead to a life of discipleship. It takes constant effort to be intentional with those in your life.
Maybe it’s difficult for you to engage in discipleship because you don’t think you can do it. Please don’t believe this lie. Remember, God has called all of us to make disciples (Matthew 28:19) and He will empower us to do just that.
Look to Jesus
Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Let this truth sink in. We were created to do good works, and God has prepared us to do those good works.
Maybe it’s difficult because you don’t have the perfect eight-step approach to discipleship, and even if you did there is no way you could actually pull it off. That’s okay! Remember, Jesus did not call His disciples by asking them to follow an eight-step plan of discipleship. He said, “Follow me,” and He demonstrated with His life how to know God and love His people. Jesus is the eight-step plan of discipleship! Don’t overcomplicate it. Look to Jesus, see what He did, and implement His ways in your life. Formally, this could look like praying with others or discussing the Scriptures together. Informally, this might look like bringing a meal to someone or asking about someone’s day—noticing them and treating them with kindness.
As we briefly touched on last week, people’s responses to our initiative or start something can be difficult and can keep us from even getting off the ground. What if you start a dinner club or a Bible study and only a few people show up—or no one does? It hurts! And you might begin to question God’s call for you to make disciples. In times like these, remember that discipleship is not about numbers but rather about true life transformation in Christ. And try not to take it personally. Give others the benefit of the doubt, since it is difficult to know all that is currently going on in their lives. Even Jesus said, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you” (John 15:18). This might seem harsh, but Jesus is reminding us that if people reject us, they rejected Him first.
Overcoming the Fear
So how can we practically live out discipleship and overcome our fears? First, remember truth. God has equipped you for good works (Ephesians 2:10). Listen to Paul’s encouragement to Timothy: “God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7). Remember your spirit of power, love, and self-control as you go and make disciples.
Second, begin to make disciples in simple ways. Don’t overcomplicate it. Look around you. Who is in need? Go and meet that need.
Practically speaking, there are so many ways we can demonstrate God’s love to others and live out the call of discipleship. You can start a Bible study, a prayer group, a dinner club, a movie group, a play group, or a book club. You can go on a walk with someone, make them a cake, eat with someone, get coffee with someone, or get a pedicure with someone. Whatever it is, be intentional with people, ask meaningful questions, and listen well. Through these experiences, ask God to give you opportunities to show with your actions and teach with your words the life-saving message of the gospel.