One of the greatest dangers as a person launches into a disciplemaking ministry is the temptation towards pride, performance, and arrogance. We must ground all our personal discipleship and disciplemaking in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Otherwise, our commitment to follow can become just one more attempt to perform for God.
Certainly, many people have used following Christ as a way to make a mark in this world, rather than understanding that as we follow Jesus, His grace is sufficient. It is, in fact, the Spirit of Jesus who is making disciples, working in and through us.
Preston Sprinkle, in his new book Go: Returning Discipleship to the Frontlines of Faith, puts it this way:
“It is fruitless to talk about discipleship without first talking about grace. Grace is the foundation and structure of discipleship. By grace God creates disciples. By grace God cultivates disciples. And it’s by God’s grace that we are transformed into Christ-likeness. Grace enables us to be like Jesus … Jesus, not you or I, is the center of discipleship. Or in the words of Eugene Petersen: ‘Discipleship is a process of paying more and more attention to God’s righteousness and less and less attention to our own.’”
It’s important for each of us to ground our own discipleship and our own disciplemaking efforts in the Gospel. Keep bringing to your heart and mind the freedom we have in Christ (Galatians 5:1), our adoption as children of God (Romans 8:16), our righteousness in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21), our redemption (Colossians 1:14), our citizenship in God’s Kingdom (Colossians 1:13), and our inheritance in God’s family (Galatians 4:4-7).
When these truths of the Gospel are front and center in our lives, we will live as people who are truly set free and we will pass this kind of life along to others who are influenced by God in us.
Do you ever fall into the performance trap in your own walk with Christ—operating out of guilt or performance? Are there truths in the Scriptures above that you could memorize to more firmly ground yourself in the Good News?