It feels weird to talk about results when discussing discipleship because it’s difficult to identify the “right” outcome of discipleship. Of course, the end goal of discipleship is to make disciples, and we must always keep this goal at the forefront. However, it is difficult to say that making disciples can only look one way. Discipleship takes on many forms because every person and relationship is different; each person’s journey with God is unique. For instance, God might use you along with many others to influence one person for Christ.
In the end, God is the one who does the work. He is the one who changes hearts. Therefore, we don’t have to get caught up in the results. Our job is to wholeheartedly give our lives to Christ and allow Him to do His work through us.
The Holy Spirit makes disciples. We must rely on His transformative power, as He is the one who changes hearts. Through the prophet Ezekiel (36:26–27), God promised new spiritual life: “I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.” John 16:8 says that the Holy Spirit is the one who “convicts the world of sin and righteousness.” Matthew 10:19–20 says that the Spirit speaks through us as we make disciples. And the apostle Paul said this about His words: “my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:4–5). Our words don’t have to be perfect, because one’s faith does not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
Let these truths relieve any burden you might feel about discipleship. Make the effort, but remember that God is the one who changes hearts. This truth keeps us from being consumed by the results of discipleship; God is in control of the results. These truths also keep us humble as we remember that the transformative work of God is always the “how” in making disciples.
As we remember God’s call, may we go and make disciples. As we go and make disciples, may we remember that the methods of discipleship vary but the message of the gospel stays the same. Think about the community and culture God has placed you in. How do the people in your life need to experience the gospel? Do discipleship in a way that meets the needs of those around you.
Finally, as you go and make disciples remember this: “It is not better methods (we need), but better men and women who know their Redeemer from personal experience—men and women who see His vision and feel His passion for the world—men and women who are willing to be nothing so that He might be everything—men and women who want only for Christ to produce His life in and through them, according to His own good pleasure.”