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One Way to Destroy a Discipleship Relationship


By Joanne Kraft: As a new Christian, I didn’t know how to read my Bible or how to grow in my faith. Nor, did I really even know how to keep a house, and I certainly didn’t know how to love my husband and my children the way God wanted me to.

I was a grown woman who was painfully thirsty for someone to come alongside and pour wisdom into me. What  I was really craving was discipleship.

To fill the desire for a spiritual mother, I made sure I was at church every time the doors were open.  I saw these people almost daily. We were at their kids birthday parties, impromptu pizza nights and weekly swim days in the summer. Our small church became like a family. My baby years of faith were filled with teachable moments watching dozens of godly women I loved and respected.

But, there was this one woman who knew her Bible so well. I was drawn to her.  She always seemed to know the right scripture to share and the right thing to say. Her wisdom and influence was huge in my life. She was beauty and grace to me. I wanted to trust and follow Jesus like she did.

Except, she only opened her heart  a little bit. She only let us come so far.  When this woman’s young daughter married a man who wasn’t a Christian, her mom-heart was crushed.  I watched her grief from the sidelines, selfishly hoping that when this painful chapter passed, I could learn what to do if I were in her shoes. Yet, she refused to speak a word of what their family was going through.

Discipleship died the day she refused to be transparent.

Discipleship dies without transparency.

Transparency is key to helping another person grow in faith. It is the ability to share our walk of faith with honesty and humility.

When we take on the heavenly task of discipling another we agree to live out authentic faith. This means trusting and following Jesus no matter what the cost. It means we lay down our reputation. We pick up our cross and die to self. We let the Lord use us, even if that means we don’t have all the answers. Humility is the truest mark of a disciplemaker.  Pride says, “I know more than you.” or “Come and learn how to be like me.” If this is what I’m thinking then I have discipleship all wrong. It’s not about me and it’s not about being perfect in another’s eyes. If I want others to think I’m perfect then I’m not the right woman to disciple another.

Every time I invite a woman into a personal discipleship relationship I am saying, “As I follow Jesus, follow me warts and all.” No one is perfect. As a matter of fact, when we disciple another, the less perfect and the more humble we are, the stronger the disciple will become.

The story of Mary and Martha gives us a perfect example of what authentic discipleship is all about.

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.  She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha”

the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Martha was busy serving. The house had to be perfect. The food had to be perfect. Her service to Jesus was in her own strength. Could it be, she also worried about what her guests thought of her? The Bible is silent about her need to do things perfectly, or if she worried about what others would think about her hospitality, but I know when I care more about what others think than what Jesus thinks.

Martha’s number one concern was to be the perfect hostess.

Mary’s number one concern was to be the proper disciple.

Are you worried about being the perfect disciple or disciple maker? Then repent of this stinkin’ thinkin’. Jesus never asked us to be perfect. He asked for humble hearts willing to die to self.

It’s the transparent life that makes discipleship the perfect fit for you. Be authentic sweet friend. It’s the authentic humble soul who draws others to Jesus.

By Joanne Kraft

Joanne Kraft is a nonfiction author and national speaker. She’s a mom of four grown kids and the founder of Discipleship for Women. Join her daily for Facebook Live encouragement.

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