Discipling is an intentional relationship in which we walk alongside another disciple in order to encourage, equip and challenge one another in love to grow toward maturity in Christ. (Creg Ogden, 17)
What was Jesus model; select a few and pour out your life in them. Jesus never concentrated on building an entourage, with his power and position that would have been easy, for many would come to him for food, healing, comfort, and all the things that would alleviate the suffering of man for nearly all of us are running away from such.
When people were impressed with his great signs and believed in him, he could not entrust himself to men that John would say in John 2:25, “He did not need man’s testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man.” With the ever changing hearts of men, nothing remains the same. Disciples can never be produced en-mass on sifting superficial impressions and emotional capital that is only for a short season. He concentrated on those who would apply his authority like he would and not abuse it for selfish gain. Paul exhorts Timothy when he says in 2Ti 2:2; And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.
Paul draws us to the main point of his reaching out to others, “We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me (Col 1:28-29)”. His desire was that Christ be formed in those who believe (Galatians 4:19), with eyes set on the multitudes he wanted to do it a soul at a time. We have to be able to attribute the change in the people we disciple from their growth in the image of Christ in them. But even though each is called to the work in their own unique way and no two disciples are ever the same yet they all have a part in the wider body of Christ.
Every human seems to have their own tailored conception of who God is, often, this is a projection of the God we wish existed; as someone has put it “creating a God in our own image.” For some He is white, for some He is colored, for some He is black, for some He is vengeful, for some he can hardly harm a fly, for some He is mean, for some very generous etc. what if we just took God just as He is as he reveals himself to us through creation, history, scripture, circumstances and most fully in Christ Jesus.
This is where humanity has the biggest problem in trying to suppress this knowledge so that we remain with the true image of God. Scripture has lots of attributes of God but in Christ dwells his fullness experientially.
I think one of the scariest things is to have an encounter with God, not really because of his truth, love, power, and many other attributes but because of his Holiness. Isaiah gives us a clue of what it is about in Isaiah chapter 6. It is this attribute that though we want to be near him, creates an infinite gap in us that repels us from him and when our hearts grow enough courage to want to get close to him, like Moses, he has to hide us in the Cleft of the rock lest we are consumed by his purity. Why so? Because holiness of God consists of two main ideas;
- His separateness; being totally other. He is like none other. This is what threatens our mortality and self-awareness.
- Purity; having an absolute perfection. This is what threatens our moral integrity, the standard that tells us that we are not whole.
Adam ran from God because God’s presence evoked that repulsion, Isaiah hid from God because his presence caused him to know how sinful he was. The first response therefore between a mortal with God is terror and rightly so (Isaiah 6:5; Job 40:4; Habakkuk 3:16). He is holy and his presence demands holiness from those in contact with him. But as one gets closer and closer, the terror slowly turns into joy. When what cause the repulsion is dealt with, God’s presence becomes a joyous experience rather than dread.