READING: Numbers 8-11, Colossians 1
I love making disciples. I do that work partially because few people intentionally invested in me as a young believer. My church clearly and uncompromisingly taught the Word of God, and my Sunday school teachers did all they could do to help me grow as a teenage believer – but I generally had to learn how to follow Christ on my own. Consequently, I failed often. My prayer is that God might use me to help others avoid the unfaithfulness and disobedience that occasionally marked my young Christian life.
As I think about it today, though, I suspect I’ve sometimes focused discipleship more on helping men avoid sin than on helping them become more Christlike. I realize the two are not entirely distinct (i.e., you cannot become more Christlike while living with recurrent sin), but it is possible to fight against sin while still not becoming more like Jesus. We can “clean up our act,” claim victory, and take the glory for ourselves without deepening our dependence on God. Often, this approach becomes deadening legalism.
Paul, on the other hand, warned and taught everyone the gospel, but his goal was more clear than mine has been at times: “so that we may present everyone mature in Christ” (Col 1:28). He longed for people not only to become Christ-followers, but also to follow Him fully. He knew his work was not done with evangelism; instead, he was to equip them through encouragement and teaching—particularly in light of the coming of Christ. The work was not easy for him, but he knew that God’s strength would enable him to complete this task. I need to remember this truth, too.
PRAYER: “Father, keep growing me—and use me to grow others toward maturity in Christ.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Numbers 12-14, Psalm 28, Colossians 2