Welcome back to the Discipleship blog series. If you haven’t read the previous posts, you can find them here.
Last time we considered the value of being accountable to what the Bible tells us to do. Every follower of Jesus will be held accountable by God, so every follower of Jesus should practice accountability with others.
In today’s post, we’ll talk about how we can help a follower of Jesus become a PRODUCER in God’s kingdom instead of simply a CONSUMER.
In His perfect plan, God created us to live in balance - to PRODUCE and to CONSUME, to CREATE and to USE UP, to POUR OUT and to be FILLED so we can POUR OUT again.
But, in our broken world, people have rejected God’s plan, and many spend their energy living out just part of God’s perfect equation.
They LEARN things but they don’t share them. They are FILLED UP but they never pour out. They CONSUME but they don’t produce.
If we’re going to make disciples who multiply, then we need to share with them how they can be producers and not just consumers.
This is how — God uses His Written Word - which we call Scripture or the Bible - to grow us spiritually. Every disciple needs to be equipped to learn, interpret and apply Scripture.
Over thousands of years and through many different authors, God spoke His word into the hearts of faithful men who captured and shared what they heard. The Scriptures teach us God’s story, His plans, His heart, His ways.
In earlier posts, you learned two simple tools - SOAPS Bible Study and Accountability Groups. In an upcoming session, you’ll learn one more simple tool - 3/3rds Groups.
These three tools work together to help equip new followers to learn, interpret and apply God’s Written Word. They will learn not to be just hearers of God’s word but doers and sharers, also.
God also uses His Spoken Word - which we can discern through Prayer - to grow us spiritually.
Prayer is speaking and listening to God. Prayer helps us know God more intimately and understand His heart, His will and His ways. Prayer helps us minister and serve others, helps us teach and share in specific ways that helps individuals or a group know God better.
Two simple tools - Prayer Walking and The Prayer Cycle help followers develop a personal prayer life and learn to pray in ways that serve others. These tools help develop a habit of praying without ceasing and learning to see the world from a spiritual perspective instead of only relying on what we can visibly see.
When used consistently, they help a follower of Jesus, increase their capacity for prayer and enhance their ability to hear from God and share what they hear.
God uses His Body of Believers - which we call The Church or the Followers of Jesus - to grow us spiritually. As the gathering of believers, we are connected. God’s Word says that in Jesus - we are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. In other words, we’re not just connected to God - we’re connected with each other.
God says to submit to one another. God says to serve one another.
Each of us has different strengths and each has weaknesses. God expects us to use our strengths to help others who may be weak. And He expects us to allow others to help us in our weakness using the strengths He has given them.
God’s Word says God has given each of you some special abilities; be sure to use them to help each other, passing on to others God’s many kinds of blessings.
Simple tools like 3/3rds Groups, Accountability Groups and Peer Mentoring help us encourage one another to love and good works by not only helping us to obey what God tells us to do but also helping us find ways to share what we learn with others.
God also uses Persecution and Suffering - sacrifice and loss that we suffer on behalf of Jesus – to grow us spiritually.
When people oppress and hurt us because we love and obey Jesus, or when bad things happen even though we love and obey Jesus, God uses those persecutions and sufferings to refine our character and make us more like Jesus.
He develops our character, strengthens and purifies our faith, equips for ministry and allows us to serve others who are suffering in a special way - all while making Himself known more clearly to everyone who watches us and knows our pain.
God tells us that as followers of Jesus we should expect to be persecuted.
Jesus said - God will bless you when people insult you, mistreat you, and tell all kinds of evil lies about you because of me. Be happy and excited! You will have a great reward in heaven. People did these same things to the prophets who lived long ago.
Simple tools like 3/3rds Groups and Accountability Groups give followers of Jesus an opportunity to share the persecutions and sufferings they experience. These groups give you a chance to teach disciples that God’s word says we should expect hard times and to equip them in how to respond well by trusting God’s love even when things go wrong.
Scripture. Prayer. Body Life. Persecution and Suffering.
These are all ways that God grows us to be more like His perfect Son, Jesus.
Simple tools help us not to just be consumers of these good things that God has given us but to be producers and sharers as well.