Sunday, August 21, 2016

How should we disciple others?

Martin LaBar posted earlier this month, giving guidelines on discipling others. There's a worthy read. He invites suggestions and so I'd like to offer mine here. I think he begins in an excellent place:
The most important guideline is to be an example of Christlikeness.
As I picture "making disciples", I wonder where to start, and here is a draft which could surely use improvement. For most items I simply list them, but on a few I've added some explanation that I hope is helpful:
  1. Cultivate love of God.
  2. Cultivate love of neighbor.
  3. Cultivate a desire to understand.
  4. Cultivate humility. Recognition of our own faults leads to compassion towards others' faults. An honest examination of our own faults is healthy -- not to cultivate guilt or shame but to cultivate humility, appreciation for others' kindness and for their insights. Knowing our own shortcomings helps to cultivate humility towards others, towards "enemies", towards the Bible's teachings, and towards people whose views we do not understand.
  5. Cultivate a love of righteousness. Along with it, cultivate an understanding of righteousness: that it is not for exalting ourselves, but for uplifting others, for safeguarding their peace and well-being.
  6. Cultivate a delight in the word of God, and in His righteousness.
  7. Cultivate a love of wisdom. Build the understanding that knowledge without love is incomplete.
  8. Cultivate gratitude. Gratitude is an intentional appreciation of our blessings that enriches our spiritual lives and strengthens our love of God and others. It gives the most blessings when practiced continually and habitually. Gratitude towards God will strengthen both love of God and faith in God, and these in turn will strengthen our hope. Gratitude towards our family, friends, and other people in our lives will bless both them and ourselves.
  9. Cultivate fellowship. Look at the lost as our own brothers or sisters, as the prodigal's father reminded the brother, "Your brother was lost". Look at the found as our own brothers and sisters, too.
  10. Cultivate gentleness and respect, without which we cannot answer anyone rightly.
  11. Encourage them to have 'heroes of the faith' among the Biblical figures such as Abraham and Ruth, or heroes of spiritual excellence outside the Bible. The examples inspire us, and the act of appreciating others is itself healthy. I'm convinced that our hearts and minds grow in proportion to the number of people we honestly admire.
  12. Encourage them to consider how their own life's work will be a blessing, through means such as friendship, honesty, and compassion.
And then I didn't find a handy heading for these, which might come under several of the other items above: 
In our thoughts, do not rehearse grievances but how to resolve them. In our words, do not rehearse insults or comebacks but praise and blessings. Become adept at graceful words and satisfying phrases of recognition. Learn how to apologize sincerely and humbly in a way that repairs the original insult or injury with suitable recognition that is due. Ready your arsenal -- or first aid kit -- of apt words to meet the challenges you know you will face. Aim for mastery at peacemaking and fellowship. Never intentionally meet enemies -- or people in a strained relationship with you -- without first praying for their good.

I was edified by the exercise that Martin suggested; I miss the old "meme" days of the blogosphere when it would be handy to tag people and invite a lot of participation. I'd encourage people to try to organize their own thoughts on how we should disciple others. It helps the focus.


Martin LaBar said...

You have given some good directions. Thanks for the mention!

Weekend Fisher said...

I thought that topic of yours was a good idea. I hope you're not feeling infringed. You know what they say about the sincerest form of flattery ...

Take care & God bless
Anne / WF

Martin LaBar said...

I don't feel infringed at all.

These days, I almost welcome spam comments, as comments are few and far between.