As I explained in a previous post, I have started “defining discipleship as helping each other follow Jesus.” There are several aspects to this definition (which I described briefly in that previous post), and I think that each of the aspects is extremely important. In fact, when we lose one of those aspects, then we are less effective at discipling one another, and we hinder the growth (maturity) of the church. For example, I said that it’s important for us to “help each other follow Jesus even when he’s leading us in different directions.” Then, my readers (you) answered this question: “How has someone helped you follow Jesus?”
I believe the most important way that we can help each other follow Jesus is by example. Now, please don’t misunderstand this. I don’t mean that we help people by going around trying to be an example. Instead, I mean that as we follow Jesus ourselves, our lives will be examples to those who know us and who observe our lives.
In this way, by following Jesus ourselves, we are also unintentionally helping each other follow Jesus.
In a comment on my previous post, I shared a story about how some friends of mine helped me follow Jesus. This happened while they were loving and serving some people in a nursing home. Their example of loving and serving the residents helped me to follow Jesus as well. But, they were not loving and serving them in order to be an example to me. They were caring for the nursing home residents because they were following Jesus themselves. Their following Jesus became an example to me and others, and their example unintentionally helped me follow Jesus.
So if we are sharing our lives with others and following Jesus at the same time, then our lives will be an example to others. Our lives will help others follow Jesus unintentionally.
Please note, this is completely different than “practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them.” (Matthew 6:1 ESV) If we are saying things or doing things in order to be noticed by others people, then we are not following Jesus.
However, if we are giving others access to our lives and following Jesus (whether others notice or not), then our lives will be an example to others and will help them follow Jesus. This is similar to what Jesus said earlier in Matthew’s Gospel: “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16 ESV)
Intentional discipleship (intentionally helping each other follow Jesus) is certainly important. I’ll talk about that in my next post.
But, don’t dismiss the importance of unintentional discipleship also. How do you unintentionally help others follow Jesus? By following Jesus yourself.
Series: Discipleship as “helping each other follow Jesus”
- Defining discipleship as helping each other follow Jesus
- Helping each other follow Jesus… in different directions?
- How has someone helped you follow Jesus
- Unintentionally helping each other follow Jesus
- Intentionally helping each other follow Jesus