So many books, conferences, lectures, “Bible studies” and ministries in an attempt to disciple yet little to no real discipleship.
I was struck by the reminder at a conference this weekend that “The Greatest Commandment” came before “The Great Commission”. I am particularly challenged by this because the struggle to do both is present all the time, and considering what was lost in the Garden we are in trouble. As acceptance, significance, and security seekers we are doomed from the get-go.
And we know as image-bearers of the Creator God, only in Him, will we find who He says we are – our identity. We also know that we were made to worship and who we worship will ultimately determine who we seek to get acceptance, significance, and security from.
In a leadership seminar, many points challenged me but one thing challenged me the greatest: that often places of leadership start because of a need; a place of discontent. The book of Nehemiah was used as an example of this and is a great example of a need that led to co-laboring with God.
Nehemiah was confronted and broken by a need.
Nehemiah took purposeful steps towards the call to leadership but each step was wrought through imploring the Father.
Nehemiah was faced with much opposition.
Yet the work was completed in 52 days. The impact of his work resulted in repentance of people who continued to doubt Gods love (chapter 9).
The story didn’t end here; just like our new beginning through repentance, we aren’t all fixed up and ready to go. We are being sanctified, there is much work still to be done, the people within the walls being built (one need) needed to be restored to their Father through healing and discipleship (another need).
Taken and paraphrased from a sermon entitled, Follow Jesus – Love His Disciples by Thomas Lemus, Real love (The Greatest Commandment) or sincere love looks like this however not exhaustive: we feel safe and comfortable, we can be honest and still feel loved, we are not afraid to touch, we can hope and believe even if we’re not sure we trust and it doesn’t just ask how you are doing without really wanting to listen and share in the burden. We are told to put on love (Col 3:14)!
Jesus didn’t disciple at all. He was moved by compassion and burdened for certain ones for reasons we really don’t know. May we be a people like Jesus, that is moved by compassion to come alongside certain ones for certain reasons that we really don’t know!