Welcome back to the Discipleship blog series. If you have not read the previous posts, you can find them here.
Last time we learned about the BLESS prayer pattern which gives a framework of five things about which to pray for a person.
This week we will learn that faithfulness is a much better measure of spiritual maturity than knowledge and teaching. There are two ideas that have caused a number of problems in the church today.
The first is that a person’s spiritual maturity is connected to how much they know about God’s Word. They act as if RIGHT BELIEF – or orthodoxy – is a good measure of someone’s faith.
The second is the idea that a person’s ability to lead requires a “full training” before they begin in ministry. They act as if COMPLETE KNOWLEDGE is a good measure of someone’s ability to lead.
The problem with the first idea – relying on orthodoxy – or right belief is that Satan himself knows more Scripture than any human. God’s Word says, “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! (James 2:19).
A better measure of someone’s spiritual maturity is ORTHOPRAXY – “right practice”.
We ought to be more concerned with FAITHFULNESS in OBEYING and SHARING than measuring maturity based only on what we know.
The problem with the second idea – that a person must be fully trained before they lead is that no one is ever really fully trained.
Jesus modelled sending out young leaders who still had many things to learn to do some of the most important work in the Kingdom.
God’s Word says, “And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal.” Then he sent them to tell about God’s kingdom and to heal the sick.
These men were sent before Peter stated his belief that Jesus was Saviour – something we would consider a first step of faith. And even after being sent Jesus had to rebuke Peter multiple times for mistakes and Peter would still later deny Jesus completely. Other followers argued over who was the greatest and what role each would play in God’s future Kingdom.
They all still had a lot to learn but Jesus put them to work sharing what they already knew. Faithfulness – more than knowledge – is something that can start as soon as someone begins to follow Jesus.
Faithfulness – more than training – is something that can be measured by what we do with what we have been given. (Matthew 25:14-30)
If we OBEY and SHARE what we hear and learn with others, we are faithful.
If we hear but REFUSE to obey and share, we are unfaithful.
As we multiply disciples, let’s make sure we’re measuring the right things.