“Wait a minute, Doug. You’re saying we can’t make disciples? You just told us that we are commissioned to make disciples. You even gave us some principles regarding what our disciplemaking should look like! Can you make up your mind?”
You have a point. But while we are told to make disciples, it is very important to remember that we cannot do it alone. In fact, if our disciplemaking becomes just another way for us to live a performance-based life, we will have missed the point. The reality is, apart from the grace and power of God in our lives, we cannot “make” anything of worth.
In John 15, Jesus says,
“Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:4,5 NIV83).
Any real fruit from our lives is produced out of our abiding relationship with Jesus. We cannot do anything of spiritual worth apart from His gracious work in and through us.
Regarding his work and the work of Apollos, a Gospel teammate, Paul the apostle said,
I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers . . . (1 Corinthians 3:6-9 NIV83, emphasis added).
Our disciplemaking is dependent on the work of God in people’s lives. What a privilege to have the opportunity to be co-workers with God Himself.
How does it make you feel, that you are invited to be partners with God in raising up learners who are growing as followers of Jesus?
What questions do these ideas bring to your mind?
What is one way you can put these ideas into action this next week? Is there anyone you considered starting a spiritual conversation with, but felt ill equipped?