Yesterday, we wrapped up our sermon series on Discipleship via Disciplines- how we might use the spiritual disciplines outlined in scripture to disciple those around us. I like to think of it as the accompanying "bookend" to the sermons that kicked off the series that also mainly dealt with discipleship. When we look at scripture, even casually, we can not help but see that discipleship- the coming alongside someone to be intentionally spiritual with them for the purpose of godliness in their lives, is something that we should be endeavoring to be a part of. We also briefly discussed how the idea of discipleship, in the church today, has garnered an air of mystery and at the same time a programmatic feel to it. I believe much of that is pent up in the hesitancy to initiate being more spiritual with people other than your own family. And I hope that our sermon series gave you some ideas how to overcome this hesitancy through the use of the spiritual disciplines.
One of the things I touched on, but maybe didn't elaborate on as much as I would have liked, was how much you will grow spiritually when you are involved in this sort of relationship. For the person who is learning, the disciplee, this is obvious. You are in a place of humbly submitting to the fact that you don't know it all and could use a hand up to get yourself at least aimed in the right direction on the right path. For the person who is mentoring, the discipler, it is also a great source of spiritual growth. It sort of like when people come over to your house... you spend the time and effort into cleaning up the place, making sure that the clean laundry isn't on the couch, and that 2-day old pizza isn't just sitting on the counter any more. And if you are anything like the Ritzes, it might just be part of the reason you invited someone over in the first place- so that you would have motivation to clean the house, or at least the rooms that y'all would be sitting in.
As a discipler, you tend to straighten out the disciplines in your own life, so you reflect that which you are teaching. You tend to get more out of your quiet time; as you look to how the scripture applies to your own life, you begin to reflect on whether or not Danny Disciple needs to hear it and if so, how you might walk through it together. If you've ever had this type of intentionally spiritual relationship with someone, you can possibly relate to what I am talking about. And if you ever find yourself in a place later on, when discipleship seems scarce in your life, it becomes a focal point in your prayer life, because you want to get back on that path, partly for the tangential blessings that cropped in your own life during that time, but also for the knowledge that you were doing what the Lord has called all of us to do.
Our Christian culture in this day and age, has something that is built in for engendering these types of relationships, The Small Group. It is a place where people from all walks of life gather together for a spiritual purpose. You know the folks there already care about their spiritual life and some may even be there because they want to learn more about the mystery of God that is Christ within them. Part of the initial hesitancy of beginning a friendship that centers on discipleship has been dealt with, now it just takes an introduction or two, a conversation over coffee or lunch to find out if possibly the Lord might want you to come alongside that someone and begin having a more in-depth spiritual walk with one another.
If you aren't part of a small group, I would encourage you to reach out to your local pastor and ask what is going on at the church during the week, or every other week sort of schedule, where you can join in and be a part of something special. And if this sort of thing has been a burden on your heart, and you are interested in starting a small group of your own, GO FOR IT! It isn't rocket science. If you aren't sure how to start one, I put together a series of 4 short videos a while back that you might find useful:
In all things, be found Faithful and Fruitful, Fulfilling all the good works that God has prepared for you.
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