what is discipleship?

“Stop judging others, and you will not be judged. For others will treat you as you treat them. Whatever measure you use in judging others, it will be used to measure how you are judged. And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying, `Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log from your own eye; then perhaps you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye. Don’t give what is holy to unholy people. Don’t give pearls to swine! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you.” [Matthew 7:1-6]

This passage is incredibly misused, especially with Christians my age. I have heard on a number of occasions “don’t judge me” it is a great defense for those who do not want to take responsibility for their actions. I will admit I have at times deserved those words being used against me, because of the way I said it, not what I said. I believe many people do not understand how to give proper criticism, suggestion, sound Godly advice, they just know how to say, “Dancing leads to sex, and therefore you can not dance”.

I believe the failure of Christians to disciple new believers is the cause of this “do not judge me attitude”. Without discipleship, all we get is a body of believers who do not need to take personal responsibility for their own wellbeing or of others. It is a lot easier to set yourself apart from the “world” and be “holy” than it is to go into the world and reach out to the sinners (did they forget they are sinners too?). There is a great discussion on discipleship happening over at LivingRoom, go take a look. I believe when a person is properly discipled they will easily show the fruits of the spirit, and will not provoke the “do not judge me” card from others. Of course discipleship is a long process, reading a book, going through a discipleship class etc, will not immediately produce a disciple of Christ or a Christ-follower, it may produce a Christ-listener, but not a follower. Even the disciples of the Bible went through a process, a three-year process! In fact, in retrospect it also took me about three years to go from a simple “believer”, then “listener” to “follower”. We cannot force someone to change from their sins; we can only show the way.

My passion is to form a small group of young adults who are willing to learn and be dicipled here in Zakopane, so after I leave they can then disciple more. This of course will take a lot of personal time, as I do not have three years here; I pray they will see the path. Carol, Denise, and Chris are here for the long haul so I know the discipleship process will continue.

Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given complete authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” [Matthew 28:18-20]

We have all read, or heard these words before, it wasn’t just “go and tell people about me”, it was “go teach all with love, what I have taught you”.