The Downfall of Skipping Discipleship

Shallow Superficial Confidence in Christ

Saleama A. Ruvalcaba

We learned in The Antonym of Appeal that our gospel walk must be that of beauty if we truly want to evoke change in others and expand the kingdom of God. But how exactly do we get a gospel walk that radiates beauty? One way is through proper discipleship. If you’re a new Christian or have been a Christian for many years, if you haven’t been properly discipled – it is best that you do, or you will hinder your growth and stifle the kingdom of God. If you truly care about what God cares about, you will seek first the kingdom of God. There is a dangerous aspect of living as Christians without proper guidance from the Holy Spirit. We live in a world exposed to a lot of bad which can influence us in a negative way. We must expel the bad to allow in the good. The good (Jesus Christ) cannot come into our heart, if we do not understand how to let Him in.

Titus 2:1-2 “You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine. Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and endurance.” 

Like most new Christians, we are excited and want to make a difference. I recall I was a one month Christian; I had never been to a Christian church, and I knew nothing about the Bible. I had no idea what the Old Testament or The New Testament was. I did not understand Jesus Christ vs. God. I did not understand sin. As far as I was concerned a sinner was the person who robbed a bank – so I knew I wasn’t a sinner. However, I emailed and called every ministry department at church to be in leadership. Every time I saw a new posting for a leader, I was first to respond! A wise older friend of mine once said, “Christians who convert later in life sometimes get too excited and want to make up for lost time.” Well that was me. I had no purpose, prior, but now I had Jesus Christ so I was going to have a purpose in the church. Even though I had no understanding of sound doctrine, or self-control or sound in my faith – I was determined to be a leader.

Titus 2:3-5 “Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good.  Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.”

I know I boast very often on the great marriage I have today. Well, I can assure you, during this period in my life, my marriage was not great. It was bad. Eventually I was allowed to be a leader at church. In fact, I was a leader in several ministries simultaneously. I was on the Bible study council. I was a head leader for Tuesday Morning Women’s Bible Study (one of the largest ministries at the church). I was president of my Sunday school class. Publicity Coordinator for Mother’s of Preschoolers (MOPS). And lead supervisor in preschool on Sunday mornings. I was popular. This was at a megachurch and a lot of people knew me. I finally had a purpose. Well good for me. In the meantime I overlooked my husband and my children did not get the best of me, and I had no patience for my non Christian extended family. Also, not being rooted in sound doctrine I had no ability to properly serve the MANY people I had authority over at church.

I was out of control. I was prideful and ambitious and was using God to achieve personal success. I would be up until 2 a.m. working on ministry stuff – and loved it! Maybe you’re not in leadership at church, but you still need to understand sound doctrine. God gives us the Bible to help guide us through all of life situations – and proper discipleship is essential. We cannot live our entire lives as non believers, then dive headfirst into leadership over others. We must first learn who Jesus Christ is. We need to know why He came to earth and died for us. We need to understand sin and the ramifications of living a life of sin. We need to understand sexual temptations. We need to understand proper procedures dealing with children. We need to understand how to pray and spiritual warfare.We need to understand wisdom and humility. God has so much for us all to do. There is no shortage of people to serve, so we need to learn patience and allow God to teach us – first.

Titus 2:14-15 “who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.”

In this verse, I was the one who needed to be rebuked and the leaders had to stand up for themselves and not be threatened by my response to their reprimand. I left that church angry and dejected. I spent years blaming them. They were the ones who allowed me to be in so many ministries – it was all their fault. They should have trained me better. Yes, it some respects we should make sure new Christians are discipled before we place them in leadership. But ultimately, when it’s all said and done; our Christian walk is our personal responsibility. We have to answer to God. Sure, I can be like Eve and blame the serpent and be like Adam and blame Eve. Or I can admit, I must seek God and trust that He will lead me properly in areas that I need growth. He will teach me, and through His guidance, He will direct me to the right leadership at the given time.

God stripped away every area of leadership in my life little by little. Finally five years as a Christian and having served in prominent leadership positions in church, I took my first leadership class. I did not serve anywhere. I studied and allowed myself to be discipled. I was finally beginning to understand; God first, Family second, Career (ministry) third. As a nine-year Christian, only now am I starting to see God use me more often. Now I can see I am having more of  a godly influence. I slowly began to understand patience and love. No matter if it’s in your home, your church, at work, or at school – allow God to teach you. Don’t be in a rush for power, or influence. Be humble. Be excited to learn from the greatest teacher of all – and in His perfect time, He will allow you to influence others while – – expanding His kingdom and giving glory to God.

Advertisements

19 thoughts on “The Downfall of Skipping Discipleship

  1. I think your situation speaks to many of those in full-time ministry today. With so many irons in the fire, there is a neglect to one’s own personal discipleship. I often forget to study, pray, and yes, practice Sabbath on my own accord and for my personal faith walk. Thank you for the refocusing post!

    Like

    1. Thanks. It is so important. There are many eager exited Christians serving but have no type of leadership training or ever been discipled. It’s extremely important in every church. Thanks for taking the time to read this and for your comment!

      Like

  2. A very good post with several excellent points made! A new convert to Christ must start by working on self and maturing in God’s word before taking on leadership roles in church programs. Grow from the spiritual “milk” of the word to the “meat.” But, from the start, a new person in Christ can share their stories of what convicted them to the Lord’s church with others. They can share the simple gospel message and perhaps “plant seeds” with others.

    If they run into questions they cannot yet answer, that’s when the more mature brothers and sisters in Christ can help. The effort of a new Christian should be to grow in the word of God. No one does a good job at teaching that which they have not yet learned themselves…

    Steve

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes exactly. I think back on how much I wanted to teach yet had no understanding of God’s Word. How could I possibly teach others if I myself did not understand God’s Word? If we allow Him, He will guide us properly. We just need a willing teachable heart.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you so much for sharing your heart and testimony with us. It’s so easy to blame others, but you are right that we are ultimately accountable. My situation was actually reverse. Years ago I stepped down from a ministry because I knew I was unfit. They invited me to stay, and I knew I didn’t want to be responsible for anyone following me when I was so out of control. God makes His will known in one way or another.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s great you were able to step away on your own. Like myself, I know many people who don’t come to understanding until it’s too late. We are responsible to God first and we need to make sure we are leading properly. Thanks for reading and for your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I can relate. God allowed me to be stripped of a couple leadership positions at my church (through no fault of my own) and waited until I was in the church kitchen one day, shredding a bucket of pulled pork, to tell me why. He said, “I am shredding you.” He followed it up with showing me a Charles Spurgeon quote: “Whenever God means to make a man great, he always breaks him in pieces first.” Not that I want to be great, exactly – I don’t do well as the center of attention at parties – but I definitely want to do great THINGS for God.

    If we want to do that, we must first be shredded. God was checking to see if my leadership was about me or about him. If it was about him, what did my loss of leadership matter? I am now doing everything I can to pass the test on a daily basis – crucifying my sense of insult and letting God do what he will.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. This is an awesome read! Thank you for being so transparent. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of service over relationship. There is amazing wisdom here!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank-you! Yes it’s so easy to get caught up in serving and forget about our relationship with God – and with others! I was angry when all my leadership titles were slowly being stripped away but God knows what He’s doing. I wouldn’t have it any other way! Thanks for reading and for your comment.

      Like

Did You Like This Post? Share Your Thoughts.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s