How can we, as Christian women, be intentional with discipleship?
I love the word INTENTIONAL. It almost begs to be written in all caps. To be intentional means to do something on purpose, deliberately or with intention. Is there anything in our lives that we shouldn’t do with intention? No.
“Whatever you do in word or deed, do ALL in the name of the Lord Jesus” Colossians 3:17 (my emphasis added).
And because Paul knows how stubborn we can be, he repeats this theme six verses later in Colossians 3:23-24:
“Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve” (my emphasis added).
In order for anything I do to be glorifying to the Lord, I have to try really hard. I can’t just roll out of bed groaning and walk out the door with a cheerful heart. I have to tell myself before I get out of bed that this is the day THE LORD HAS MADE. I owe it all to Him.
Sadly, I don’t remember to do this every day and I can clearly tell you which days I am serving the Lord and which days I’m serving man. If it is that hard to be intentional in our own lives, imagine how much harder it is to be intentional in the discipling of other believers?
As an interesting side note, tell me if this doesn’t tell you about Christianity today in regards to discipleship? Dictionary.com defines the verb discipling as:
- Archaic. To convert into a disciple.
- Obsolete. To teach; train.
Christians today are often confused on how to disciple and sadly, many see evangelism as synonymous with discipleship. Discipleship is the equipping and training of BELIEVERS. You cannot be discipled until you have first repented of your sins and made Jesus Christ the Lord of your life. Discipleship occurs from hearing good expository preaching, participating in deep Sunday School classes, small group biblical training sessions and one-on-one mentoring. Titus 2:3-5 calls older women to train (DISCIPLE) younger women.
How can you be INTENTIONAL in discipling a Christian woman?
(I say a woman because to truly be intentional and still be devoted to our husband and children first, we need to be careful how many focused discipleship relationships we take on.)
- Have a plan. When you meet with a woman, whether for coffee or a playdate, go into your time together with a mind focused on Christ. Pray beforehand that the Lord guide your conversation.
- Don’t allow husband-bashing, complaining, or gossip. Everytime the conversation begins to turn it is YOUR job to redirect it by using scripture or bluntly cutting off unhelpful talk.
- Always use Scripture as the basis for your instruction not solely your feelings or experiences. I hate to say this but us women are so bad about this! Our experiences do allow us to better relate to certain situations, but they should never be the primary emphasis. God’s Word is FULLY sufficient. Experiences can support, but we don’t want a woman to make changes in her life based on anything but the conviction and encouragement of the inerrant Word of God.
- Follow up. Discipling doesn’t end with a hug at the end of the meeting. Being intentional means checking up on her six hours later, two days later, five days later (not an exact formula)…Maybe it’s a simple text or Facebook message. If the response is vacant or shallow, a phone call is in order. Remember, discipleship is more than a casual friendship. This is someone’s walk with Christ that you have the privilege of helping with and deepening.
- Pray constantly for this woman. You cannot disciple someone on your own. We are saved sinners and yet we are very capable of saying the wrong thing, misquoting a verse or failing to correct a bad thought. Only the Holy Spirit can effect a lasting change in someone’s behavior.
- Know when to seek outside counsel. There will be times when a woman needs something more than you can offer her. A certified biblical counselor can help with major sin issues that she is struggling to overcome. A great resource for finding a biblical counselor in your area is Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).
If you aren’t currently discipling a sister-in-Christ, start praying today that the Lord would bring someone into your life. Also, look around at the friendships you currently have. Who seems to always be seeking your advice? This is a clear sign of respect and perhaps even someone’s way of asking for you to disciple them!
If you don’t feel adequate to disciple someone, again, start praying today! Read the Bible, get to know God’s Word. Seek out an older woman (she doesn’t have to be that much older!) and be discipled yourself.
Have you been discipled at some point in your walk?