A Balanced View of Discipleship

The Christian disciple must have a comprehensive view—a balanced view—of discipleship. A life of discipleship means that we constantly learn how to follow Jesus through life’s joys and difficulties.

All through this first quarter of our study of how a Christian becomes a disciple of Jesus, we have touched on key themes. Now, in this last resource, we’re going to try to sum it up with a comprehensive view—a balanced view—of discipleship. A life of discipleship means that we constantly learn how to follow Jesus through life’s joys and difficulties.

Connecting With Scripture. Whom do you report to? Who reports to you? Rate the level of mentoring taking place in both of these relationships on a scale of 0 (nothing happening at all) to 5 (constant teaching is taking place).

Recall a recent “teachable moment” when an unplanned opportunity for mentoring arose. How well did you, your mentor, or the one you were mentoring take advantage of that moment?

Sharing and Receiving Scripture. Write out simple instructions for an activity that you are good at—how to compose an interesting photo, make tasty mac and cheese, that sort of thing. Try to sound as if you are an expert on this subject. Now have someone read your instructions. Were they as clear as you hoped? Does the person have any tips to improve your teaching style?

Moses, in Exodus 18, may have acted as sole judge of the Israelites because . . .

      • No one had given him permission to release the responsibility to others until Jethro spoke up.
      • It’s often easier to just do something yourself than take the time to mentor someone else.
      • He thought that of other people could do his job, then maybe he wouldn’t be needed anymore.
      • He felt that only he was wise enough to render sound judgments.
      • It simply never crossed his mind to recruit others to help.
      • Other?
      • In the book of Matthew, Jesus effectively recruits disciples with the simple request “Follow me.” Why was this approach so successful?

      • Simple requests are more appealing.
      • Too much information and explanation gives people more opportunity to resist the invitation.
      • Those being recruited had already seen Jesus in action and were just waiting for an invitation to join.
      • Jesus knew that these people were open to an invitation
      • The Holy Spirit reinforced Jesus’ invitation by tugging on some of the resistant hearts
      • Other?
      • Why did Jesus, in Mark 8:31-38, rebuke Peter so forcefully?

      • Jesus had tried to teach him about imminent suffering, but he wasn’t paying attention.
      • Jesus didn’t wait for teaching moments, but created them.
      • Peter expressed a dangerous attitude, and Jesus had to forcefully confront it for Peter’s sake.
      • Jesus was hurt by Peter’s rebuke.
      • If Peter could take Jesus’ rebuke and learn from it, he would be better prepared for the future
      • Other?
      • Romans 8:18 addresses a critical issue for Christians: being a disciple of Christ comes at a cost in this life. What best helps you face trials?

      • The promises of future glory.
      • I see the trials that my Lord (and Mentor) Jesus Christ faced, and it strengthens me.
      • Jesus leads me gently as I learn by small trials how to face bigger problems later on.
      • I’ve seen others in my church endure sufferings and their Christ-like example encourages me.
      • I honestly don’t face trials very well and I need help with this.
      • Other?

Applying the Scripture. Choose one of the following options and work on a solution. If the opportunity arises, share your solution with someone else.

Option 1: The Church often does well at bringing people into the church, but sometimes not so well at keeping them. List some suggestions that would help your church assimilate new members such as yourself.

Option 2: As a new believer, think about someone you care about who may not know that you have entered into a new relationship with Jesus. Write down some ways you might share with him or her a little of what you have discovered, including how to do it in a nonjudgmental, affirming manner.

Valuing Scripture in Your Life. Spend some time reflecting on your spiritual mentors. What are their greatest contributions to your new life as a disciple? Write about it for your own benefit. Then write them some expression of thanks.

Consider prayerfully areas in which your discipleship commitments need to be refined, and then list those areas. Place the list in your Bible and review it during your private devotions. Add specific actions as the Holy Spirit shows them to you.*

* Adapted with permission from the iFollow Discipleship Resource, ©North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists. 

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