the weblog of Alan Knox

Can you help me follow? Can you help me trust?

Posted by on Apr 12, 2012 in discipleship | 27 comments

Can you help me follow? Can you help me trust?

In one of my last posts, I asked the question, “What (Who) are we teaching people to rely on?” That post points out a major shift in my understanding of “making disciples” (discipleship) that has occurred over the last few years. That shift continues today.

What is the shift? The shift is away from information and facts about Jesus, and toward following Jesus and trusting him.

To be honest, most Christians would agree with me. Most would agree that discipling others is helping them follow Jesus and trust him. But, when you stop and think about all the energy, time, and resources that are spent on sharing information and fact, it seems that what we truly believe about discipling is not what we say we believe about it.

But, what would change? What would change in how I interact with people if I want to help them follow and trust Jesus instead of giving them information about Jesus? What would I do differently? What would I say differently? How would I pray differently? How would I give differently? How would I serve differently?

I think these are important questions. And, if we stopped to consider them seriously, we would have to admit that most of the things we do have little affect on helping people trust Jesus and follow him. Perhaps that’s why we have a tremendous amount of education going on, but believers still seem to be extremely immature when it comes to following Jesus and trusting him.

Also, this emphasis on sharing information and facts about Jesus explains why the people in the previous post (“What (Who) are we teaching people to rely on?“) were concerned that believers in certain countries don’t have access to all of those sources of information: conferences, books, commentaries, training seminars, Bible schools, etc.

So, what do I need to help me follow Jesus better? What do I need to help me trust Jesus more? Yes, I have the Holy Spirit, just as he indwells all of Jesus’ followers. But, we also all need help following Jesus and trusting him. And, in fact, the Spirit often works through those he indwells to help others follow and trust Jesus more.

How do we help each follow and trust Jesus? When I look at what typically happens and what is typically done and what is typically said as the church to one another, I don’t think most of it actually helps us follow and trust Jesus. It might help us fill encyclopedias, but it doesn’t help us grow and mature in trusting Jesus and following him.

What about you? What do you think it takes to help someone follow Jesus and trust him? Has your understanding of this changed? If so, how?


27 Comments

Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 4-12-2012

    Alan,
    Unfortunately we all are in a material world, and we do not die to our flesh and blood. there is a common thread lie going in and out of our churches and world. This lie is that we all have some good in us and this is a lie. there is only one Good and that is God the Father of Christ for even Christ said this. Why do you call me good? for only God is good. So If us the human race think there is good in our being then we will never die to our flesh and come alive to the Holy Ghost. this is in Matt 19:16,17, and then on with keeping the commandments. The law of Moses, and this was before the new covenant which is today in place not the old unless one has not seen this new one, check out my blogger http://www.godjustloveyou.blogspot.com Thanks Howard PS thus, therefore everyone we call good or think of as good, we are inessence calling them and ourself GOD. No there is noone good not one except GOD the creator of all. So I call Jesus good and the Holy Ghost and Father for all three are in agreement no disputes which make them one.

  2. 4-12-2012

    Just to confirm what you are saying here, I have a prison ministry and have asked the question in every group: “How many of you had a relationship with Jesus BEFORE you did whatever you did that landed you here?”. Invariably over 95% of the hands will go up. Granted I am talking about those who attend the meetings and not the whole prison population, but when this information is presented to “institutions” called churches, they don’t believe it.
    After presenting my question to the inmates I follow with the importance of discipleship. I explain how discipleship would have kept them out of prison and let them know that I nor anyone else can disciple them from the outside. The result of this is TRUE revival breaking out.

  3. 4-12-2012

    Howard,

    I agree with everything that you said about God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. How would you then help someone trust Jesus and follow him? I’m not talking about salvation; I’m talking about (in Paul’s words) “living in a manner worthy of the gospel.”

    Matt,

    Thanks for the example. I appreciate this statement especially: “…that I nor anyone else can disciple them from the outside.” How do these prisoners help one another trust Jesus and follow him?

    -Alan

  4. 4-12-2012

    Ask the right questions, change your personal world. If enough people ask the right questions it is possible to change the entire world.

    These are some of the right questions: 1) Why don’t believers mature AFTER they are born again? 2) What does discipleship really look like?

    First Answer: Children grow naturally in their natural habitat (families).
    If the new born baby is taken out of his/her natural habitat, and placed into an institution, the baby may grow physically, but in all other important ways their growth will be hindered. The ekklesia of Christ is the community family environment designed by God the Father for naturally raising children. Furthermore, if that child comes to believe(have faith) in the institution, it will be imprinted by the institution, short of a miracle the damage may be permanent. As spiritual babes we are those spoken of in Galatians chapter 4, although we are heirs and own the whole estate positionally, we are NO DIFFERENT THAN SLAVES (of this world system) although we positionally own the whole kingdom estate of our Father. We are to be under tutors until a time appointed by our Father. If the babe identifies that the institution is sent by the Father to raise him, what kind of growth will that child experience. One thing is for sure the law of seed bearing in kind unfortunately works here too.
    The result of the imposter (church)raising God’s children will be EXACTLY what we see in churches today.

    Second Answer:There are two requirements for proper spiritual growth, and both are essential. First the Holy Spirit’s role is 100% essential, both in receiving revelation, spiritual (kingdom) knowledge, and the one true source the child is taught to rely upon at all times. The other essential is the role of elder believers who are spiritually mature. Elders sharing their life in close personal contact, is the “Jesus” method. It has been proven to work…. : )

  5. 4-12-2012

    Marc,

    Thanks for the comment. I agree, although I wouldn’t limit the “sharing life” to elders. We can all share our lives with one another and help one another trust and follow Jesus. How do you help people grow naturally by responding to the Holy Spirit?

    -Alan

  6. 4-12-2012

    Since we are no longer a church attenders, we intentionally ask the Lord to give us the people He wants us to fellowship with. So far that means a whole lot of internet Christian friends, a couple of people who will still talk to us after being kicked out of church, and our, rather large, extended family. Each week we are meeting with several groups or couples sharing what it means to walk with and to trust Jesus moment to moment. The are learning (as babies really) what it means to relax and let the Holy Spirit guide each conversation.

  7. 4-12-2012

    Marc,

    I appreciate the feedback, and I agree with what you said. Can you share any specific ways that you help people listen to the Spirit and follow him? Perhaps an example?

    -Alan

  8. 4-13-2012

    If you hear the word and don’t obey and act on it you are like a man who forgets who he is even after looking in a mirror. Jesus disciples by having his followers DO what he has taught them. When the word becomes flesh, is embodied in action of love and sacrificially laying down your life for others there is fruit. Love is not a feeling but an action, and the sign of a disciple. We gather together to spur one another on to good actions in Christ. Jesus integrated his followers ( disciples) into his daily life where actions were taught, where how to walk out the teaching of his sermon on the mountain became real. They were with him when he did what he did , so the command to make disciples mean we must be with others who want to be his disciples. How often has one of us handled a situation disastrously because we didn’t have another more experienced disciple involved with us in that situation? When The church is set up like family, we have opportunities to receive the support, guidance, and encouragement for the actions we are to take. The body of Christ is not suppose to function like dysfunctional and estranged families we see in the world today with latchkey kids learning from an impersonal tv or the information only web. Discipleship is active involvement.

  9. 4-13-2012

    Dori,

    Yes, I agree. Can you share some examples of how someone has helped you trust or follow Jesus, or how you have helped others?

    -Alan

  10. 4-13-2012

    God is our leader and teacher in ones heart that believes and it is up to each to read and see by belief in Christ, bridging the gap between man ang God, through the Holy Ghost who is now doing the preaching to believe through anyone that believes.
    All salvation starts at believe and one by God the Father are saved through belief. Stay with belief and seek and one shall follow and learn and see truth that sets them free in love first with God the Father of Christ, because all sin has been dealt with throguh Christ so the Father can write the laws of love on ones heart, thanks Howard

  11. 4-13-2012

    Recently our son was struggling how to walk in love toward his room mate. Our son wanted to demonstrate to his room mate that although he rejects his room mates lifestyle of drugs and sex and control, he didn’t reject him as a friend. Our son came over several times and shyly and slowly shared his conflict. We disciples him firstly by demonstrating he was welcome to share at his own pace and we matched our availability of listening to his pace. We responded secondly with reflecting back to him what we thought he was saying was his problem and as he let us know we had truely heard him, we thirdly asked him what ideas he had about handling it. This lead into discussions where we all shared what actions would reflect the love of Christ. The solution finding process was shared, but the understanding that ultimately the actions were going to be his and the results were going to be in gods hands. While discussing back and forth the scenarios we each came up with, deeper reflection occurred about his own fears to communicate, his lack of experience communicating on that level, and the merciful reflections about his friends heart. We lastly let him know that we would continue to be here for support through the results. He did report back that the risky open communication he chose to offer his friend actually influenced his friend seeking to stop living like he was. (obviously some people want love more than a bad lifestyle).
    This example is so full circle because it was personal sharing, communicating, and involvement with another that brought fruit all around. And we are rejoicing that our son is letting discipleship happen with us and is himself discipling another.

  12. 4-13-2012

    Alan ‘s reply

    I agree with everything that you said about God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. How would you then help someone trust Jesus and follow him? I’m not talking about salvation; I’m talking about (in Paul’s words) “living in a manner worthy of the gospel.”

    Alan, You, I or anyone else is not responsible for anothers growth. we are all accountable for self and self to walk in the manner we are called and the Holy Ghost that lives in us by ones asking leads and guides us daily as we daily choose to die to the old law and flesh, and come alive to God via the Holy Spirit of Christ, and one will live in a manner worthy of the gospel, via the Holy Ghost as long as one gives up their old life of flesh and blood. This holy Ghost is none other than the same Holy Ghost that led Jesus through out his ministry of reconciliation. After he ascended, he sent this Guide to all that believe and ask. It is just not all have come to this realization.John 16. Any works done through the Holy Ghost will not burn up in the fire, but any works of flesh burns up in the fire. So now that we believe we have the Holy Ghost I recommend we ask for The Holy Ghost to turn on the fire and burn any and all dross out of our flesh and blood so we will serve the living God in Spirit and truth, thus be set free from the corruption of the gospel of christ that man has added to, thank you for having me here to respond Howard

  13. 4-13-2012

    Dori says:

    Recently our son was struggling how to walk in love toward his room mate.

    And to me you all walked in the gtrace and love of God and it is correct that people need love more than food. And that roommate was searching for it through sex, drugs and so on. So yuor son has got a grasp on God’s love through faith and the roommatew is seeking the truth.
    Halleluah!!!!!! Howard

  14. 4-13-2012

    Marc, gret answer and you see it is all done by the hoyly Ghost living through you the belever and thus truth is shown for truth is Love (GOD”S) wow! Brother keep on keeping on
    Howard

  15. 4-13-2012

    Marc, please e-amil me at renewed45@yahoo.com or just loo at a blogger that i have written on and share if you like, it is http://www.godjustloveyou.blogspot.com
    Thanks Howard

  16. 4-13-2012

    Dori,

    Thank you for the excellent example. These are the kinds of things that people need to read about and, more importantly, see. But, unfortunately, this kind of discipleship is often lost among the church.

    Howard,

    Yes, all growth is from the Holy Spirit and all activity is through him. However, as the authors of Scripture continually exhort, he works through us and we must be willing to allow him to work. While Scripture does tell us to trust the Spirit and follow Him, they also give us extremely practical examples and they reminded their readers of the extremely practical examples that they lived before them. There is no contradiction between trusting the Spirit for growth and, at the same time, exhorting, encouraging, teaching, and helping one another grow at the same time.

    -Alan

  17. 4-13-2012

    Howard,

    Yes, all growth is from the Holy Spirit and all activity is through him. However, as the authors of Scripture continually exhort, he works through us and we must be willing to allow him to work. While Scripture does tell us to trust the Spirit and follow Him, they also give us extremely practical examples and they reminded their readers of the extremely practical examples that they lived before them. There is no contradiction between trusting the Spirit for growth and, at the same time, exhorting, encouraging, teaching, and helping one another grow at the same time.

    -Alan

    Yes Alan i follow you in what you say, I just remember that no flesh and blood wil ever inherit the kingdom of Heaven, and through the cross all sin has been condemned to the flesh, so therefore we can have people acting out goodness from their flesh and blood thus deceiving the very elect. Jesu every morning went out away from all and prayed getting his instructions for the day. The disciples came to him and we must go back, man those people are very excited let us go back there. Jesu said no for he had his instructions for the day. Do you see the draw of flesh and blood that was upon his disciples? Do you see the fleah and blood in our ministries today? What Paul to the Galations who has bewithched you. Paul also said Shall I come with a whip, in kindness. Then he said I will know these so called believers by the power not the wisdom (mans) that is. There are many errors in the church today that are besetting the flock, using carnal wisdom to destroy them, keeping them under the law, under flesh and blood thought
    Bottom line there is if one is not trusting the Holy Ghost to lead them individually. You walking by the Ghost will know the other walking by the Ghost. You know the power of the Ghost for when you have received the power from on high you just know and you still react in god’s love not your own for you have none of your own.There is no one good except God himself as Jesus stated in Matthew 19 when a rabbi said hey good master and Jesus replied there is only one good and that is his Father, period. Yet the world has put this drop of ink in the glass that was pure and tainted it for all to think that there is some good in them and they can exhort, rebuke, and act as if they know the truth and in actuality are fleecing the flock and pretending to be a betty better than you. So one or many will come to them being weak and ask for they admire what they see in you, and a lot of the times your flesh and their flesh take over and are decieved to do sin and then hide it. the ones that are truly seeking will come to know the truth and come to belief, but those that are of flesh and blood will never inherit the kingdom. Many will stand at Judgement and say That they did this or that for the Kingdom, but Christ will say go away for you who work iniquity. So I say to all if you have not repented changed your mind from unbelief to belief, then do so now ask to receive the Holy Spirit of promise and start dying to your old way of thinking (dying to the flesh and blood), be renewed by the Holy spirit of truth. thanks Alan for allowing God’s two cents on salvation. Howard

  18. 4-13-2012

    Howard,

    Yes, it is possible for people to do “good things” apart from God, and this is not what I’m talking about. In the same way, people can say great things about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit and be completely outside his will. Often, according to Scripture, this is evident in their lives by the way the treat/interact with (or fail to interact with) other people. Yes, let’s encourage people to trust completely in God, then show them by example how to follow him and how to trust him.

    -Alan

  19. 4-13-2012

    yes Alan, i agree and thanks for your iron sharprning my iron yet not ours but God’a through the spirit of truth, instead of the spirit of error. thanks again and i know through here we all will learn truth, for his word never goes void, thanks again, howard
    And the example to show is not by us it is by the holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit alone and this the example shown to us in the bible, exhorting one to do good, and when they that are of flesh and blood find out they can’t then they will turn to God. Yet some will listen to the spirit of error and turn against God when they find out they can do no good in and of themselves. they do not hear die to their own flesh and blood and then renew their mind to god and see things from god’s vantage point. Brother just keep on keeping on. Love you Howard

    Alan Knox said:

    Howard,

    Yes, it is possible for people to do “good things” apart from God, and this is not what I’m talking about. In the same way, people can say great things about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit and be completely outside his will. Often, according to Scripture, this is evident in their lives by the way the treat/interact with (or fail to interact with) other people. Yes, let’s encourage people to trust completely in God, then show them by example how to follow him and how to trust him.

    -Alan

  20. 4-13-2012

    Alan,
    I agree that such examples aren’t seen and seem to be lost in the church, but God is looking for what is lost and putting us back together in Him. We can see that He is shaking down pretentious hinderances, and gathering living stones together again. They may be scattered and buried under dirt in fields that have laid ruined, but He is calling some as in Isaiah 58:12 to rebuild walls and restore streets to dwell in….True community that grows and is built together.
    He brings a season of disengaging people from binding hinderances and then because they must themselves do their part in following him, he allows them uncomfortable seasons of feeling like a strewn and ruined stone where they see the shame and worthlessness of being built into anything other than Christ. Then the restoring and building begins. He still sends through Christ his Comforters like Nehemiah, his mystery Revealers like Paul who help people make sense of Connecting with God as Connector, his Peters who help people see there is Nothing Uncommon Between them, and all the disciples who Shared all they had, fitting their lives with one another with One Another. It is stone upon stone and not a Fancy Fast unbacked Credit Financed Building Project. The building is backed on the secure labors of love, the repayable debt of crushed rocks that are constructed together on the Crushed Foundation Rock.
    When someone comes into our life and says, “I’m burnt from what I thought was….”, we comfort, reveal, connect in common, give the understanding, love, encouragement,, patience they need in healing, forgiveness to wash the shame, and good news of restoration. In the world we have bankruptcy because people can’t pay their debts. May we show each other how to pay the debt of love in Christ Jesus!!!!!

  21. 4-13-2012

    May we show each other how to pay the debt of love in Christ Jesus!!!!!

    Dori; we show it by walking in it, God’s love through the same Holy Spirit that led Jesus. Not worldly, which is the Spirit of error. 2 Coritnthians 7:2 onward the Corinthians understood a worldly sorrow, which is what tey had adhered to. Then they saw through to the Spirit of truth and then adhered to a Godly sorrow. Many are still under a worldly sorrow and led by the Spirit of error. I serve God with the inward man and I serve the law of sin and death with the flesh. I pick the inward man, who is the Holy Ghost. Love Howard

  22. 4-13-2012

    Howard,

    I’m glad that we’re agreeing. I love the way that Paul continually pointed his readers to trust in God and to remember his own example of working hard among people.

    Dori,

    Thanks for taking part in this discussion! I especially love your last paragraph.

    -Alan

  23. 4-14-2012

    I am glad as well, and I am sure from time to time we will see something a little differant, and probably sharpen each other from each others side, depending on which side we are putting out the fire from. I see it like their are four fireman and each one is on a corner of the house that they are putting out the fire. This is why i think it is important to read romans 14. For I think it is much deeper than just a food chapter, as i was originally taught in Church. Thanks again my Brother in Christ.
    Howard

  24. 4-14-2012

    Howard,

    I agree that Romans 14 is about much more than food or days. The key summary is in Romans 15: “Accept one another as God accepts you in Jesus Christ.”

    -Alan

  25. 4-14-2012

    absolutely, Alan if get a chance see my blog at http://www.godjustloveyou.blogspot.com thanks howard

  26. 3-5-2013

    Correct doctrine, the best understanding of Hebrew, and Greek, or any other thing will not stir my heart, yet true love does. When we interact with fellow saints and this love from above is expressed, we ‘lean in’. We love to hear each others stories of how Christ is working in one another.

    It doesn’t matter the background of the saint, when this love from above is expressed, we take notice. Sharing with one another our up and downs, our good times, and the not so good ones seems to make for true fellowship. We realize just how common we are, and just how faithful our Lord is.

    Additionally the Lord is a great weaver, he will bring folks into our lives. This mutual sharing of the Manna from heaven, we are settled, strengthened,and encouraged.

    This morning I received a phone call from a dear saint, the conversation was rich, encouraging for both of us. This was a classic case of ‘where two or more are gathered’, and both of us were edified through His presence. It seems to me that nothing trumps loving one another. We all respond to love that is sincere.

    “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

  27. 3-6-2013

    Jim,

    I love this: “Sharing with one another our up and downs, our good times, and the not so good ones seems to make for true fellowship. We realize just how common we are, and just how faithful our Lord is.”

    Thanks!

    -Alan