by Jim Putman: If you feel like you are not qualified to be a disciple or a disciple-maker, welcome to the majority – good disciple-makers don’t start out ready – we become ready as we start out. In my post Six Habits Of An Effective Disciple Maker I talk about the importance of establishing habits in your life that will move you forward as a disciple.
The truth is, if you don’t cultivate your mindset you will walk through your life in reaction mode. You will be responding to your day as it plays out, rather than intentionally incorporating actions and decisions that will lead you towards your core values. To cultivate means to prepare the ground. When we prepare the ground of our mindset for the seeds of discipleship, God will be able to plant and harvest so much more from our days!
With that in mind, I have put together some questions and prompts to help you intentionally frame your mindset and lens for the day towards discipleship.
Ask God for wisdom and insight:
We can’t even begin to direct our mindset towards spiritual things without the help of the Holy Spirit. The default human mindset does not automatically think of others and their needs first – we have to intentionally renew our mind with Gods word and through prayer. In the book of James we are told to ask God for wisdom, and he will give it to you. If we start every morning off by asking him for wisdom and insight we have a much better chance of viewing things throughout our day through a spiritual lens rather than the lens of flesh. Ask God to show you who he wants you to serve, who he wants you to invite, who he wants you to pursue. And then be sure to watch and listen for His direction.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you”. James 1:5
Jim Putman, author of this blog, is writing a new book called The Death of Discipleship about the dynamics of pride and humility in the discipleship process. Download the free primer for this book here.
Who is missing?
Sometimes we get so caught up in our busy lives that people we care about may fall off the grid without our noticing. When people go through struggles or trials, an automatic response is often to withdraw and isolate. This response may be automatic, but it is seldom what is best for the person involved. When we isolate ourselves from others, there is a greater chance that we start making up stories in our head not based in fact. For instance – even when we are the ones in withdrawal, we begin to think that no one cares, or that we have no value because no one is reaching out to us. In some cases, depression can even set in. Take time every day to think through the people you are connected with and in relationship with. Determine the last time you touched base with them and how they were doing. This simple action each day may prompt you to send a text or make a phone call that could be a literal game-changer in someones week.
“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? Luke 15:4
How/Who can I serve?
As you go through your day, look around and try to take notice of who you could serve through your actions or your words. It may mean returning papers at work to someone who left them behind at the copy machine. It could be telling the barista at the coffee shop that her smile brightened your day. Maybe you let someone with fewer items take your place in line at the store – (or maybe even someone with more items and a crying child!)
It takes so little sometimes to make a difference in someones day – and we never know what a small seed we plant can grow into in the Kingdom of God. If we can just take our eyes off of ourselves and our own agenda sometimes and look around with intention, God will show us a number of ways he would like us to step in and be Jesus for the people around us. And that is the starting place of Real Life Discipleship.
“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” Galatians 6:10
Who can I invite to go with me?
When Jesus was here on the earth, he was always inviting his disciples to go places with him. To weddings, to funerals, to impromptu picnic’s where he provided the food – Then when he began to send his disciples out to do ministry without him, he sent them in pairs. Discipleship is really better caught than taught. Every time we go ‘do’ something it is an opportunity to either model some aspect of discipleship to someone we are leading, or to go deeper in relationship with someone we are getting to know.
Think through your calendar – are you signed up to take a meal to a small group member who had surgery? Take a new small group member with you – you will have time to connect during the drive and the new member will get a better idea of what it means to depend on and support each other as a body. Are you spending family night at home playing games? Invite one of your kids teen friends who has a dysfunctional home life. Give that friend love and acceptance and a look at what family the way God intends it to be looks like. Volunteer to go pick up coffee’s for everyone at your office and ask a co-worker you’ve wanted to connect with to come along and help carry them.
People often talk about not having time for discipleship, not realizing that we can layer so much of into what we already do by just inviting someone to go along.
“Calling the Twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits.” Mark 6:7
Who can I tell about my life with Jesus?
It can sometimes be intimidating to think about sharing “The Gospel” – but the meaning of that term in the Bible is actually “Good News”. And I don’t know about you, but most people don’t have a problem sharing good news with each other. That is much of what social media is populated with (along with a lot of complaining and arguing…) I once heard someone say: “People can argue with your theology, but they can’t argue with your testimony.” and it really resonated with me. I have no problem telling someone that I wasn’t such a great person before God came along and changed me. Or mentioning that He took care of me when I was sick by sending my Life Group to help. I love telling people about how God has used tough circumstances to bring me closer to him, and I also have no problem telling someone I will be praying for them when they are struggling. I have found that even people who profess unbelief will accept prayers on their behalf when they have hit bottom.
Even if you don’t feel confident in your Bible knowledge, you are probably pretty certain about what God has done in your life. When we share those things with others, we are sharing the good news about our relationship with Jesus and what he has done for us – and that is the core of the Gospel. Sometimes even something so small as an offer to pray for someone can open up a conversation that might not have happened otherwise. And that is a start. Make it a goal to share something every day about what God is doing in your life.
“Return home and tell how much God has done for you.” So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him. Luke 8:39
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” Peter 3:15
I don’t know about you, but I sometimes reach the end of the day and realize there were opportunities that I walked right by that would have been more important long term than the things I was walking towards. I think spending a few minutes every morning going through questions like this will help us to walk through our day with a heightened awareness for the opportunities that God may be placing in our path.
Written by Jim Putman
This was originally posted on Jim Putman’s blog here. Used with permission.
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