The main problem I have with making disciples, is that it’s impossible.
I mean, literally, it’s not possible. God wants us to move people towards:
- knowing Him (walking in intimate relationship with Him),
- loving each other (the same way we love ourselves),
- and living out what Jesus says to do (with an obedience from the heart).
We can’t make anyone do any of those things. I guess God likes it that way. He wants the call on our lives to be one that leads us to lean on Him in desperate weakness, so He gives us a task that is impossible so that we stay weak and He gets to move through us.
But we aren’t super psyched about the weak thing because it’s desperately uncomfortable. So instead, we reduce discipleship to something we feel like we can control.
Instead of raising the bar and working through our insecurity and weakness, we lower it even further and minimize even those pieces of discipleship:
- We reduce knowing God to knowing things about God
- We reduce loving one another to making one another feel loved
- We reduce doing what Jesus said to doing what Jesus did
Let’s take those one at a time.
Some of us have reduced knowing God to knowing things about God.
When it comes to God, you and I never primarily had a knowledge problem. According to Romans 1, we knew true things about God (limited things, but still true things) and we refused to honor and treasure those things. EG: I’m anxious today. It’s not because I don’t know that God is a good provider; it’s because I don’t see fit to acknowledge Him as provider.
If we reduce knowing God (in a deep relational sense) to knowing things about God, then we’re going to find ourselves producing disciples that look like demons – who have perfect knowledge of God but refuse to treasure Him.
CLICK TO TWEET: “We reduce knowing God to knowing things about God.” @fabsharford
Knowing things about God is part of it. You cannot worship and follow an unknown God. You cannot trust true things about God if you don’t KNOW true things about God. You must lock God’s truth away in your heart and eat His Word because that is the only way to know the truth of who He is, but it cannot stop there.
Knowing God is not just what we know about God, but how we respond to what we know about God. It’s treasuring what we know about God, being hungry for more of Him, not as an academic pursuit, but as a person who can be known.
Think about your kids, your friends, all those you are wanting to help grow in Christ. Here are some questions to consider:
1. Are you leading people to lean on you or the bible?
Your words don’t create faith, they provide information. God’s words actually produce faith in His kids. Scripture is one of the means God uses to change us from people who know true things, to people who trust and treasure true things.
2. What do you use as the mark of maturity in discipleship?
Somewhere along the way we learned that knowing things about God = maturity in Christ. Somewhere between our scripture memory quizzes and our bible drills we began to think that growing is the same as gaining more information. How are you communicating that those things are a means to a far greater end? How are you defining maturity for those around you?
3. Are you facilitating spaces and relationships that challenge others to face areas where they do not treasure the truths they know?
This is why so many of our generation love conferences, classes, bible studies: they can get lost in the crowd, gain knowledge without ever being challenged to see if they actually believe it.