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Discipleship 101: Become a Disciple. Yes, You.
Lesson #1: Become a Disciple
I received a heavy prophetic word from a respected member of my church back in the summer of 2001. He said he felt the Holy Spirit strongly urging me that "wherever you go, find spiritual authority and submit to it. This is really important for you. If you don't, you could miss out on some things God has for you in the future." I didn't follow this warning as seriously as I should have, and it cost me dearly. I have scars to prove it pays to listen to the warnings of the Lord. Even after the wounds, I wandered in my own personal wilderness for a solid five years. Mostly isolating myself, judging others critically, and wondering why God hadn't promoted me to full-time ministry. Big shocker there.
Even I Sometimes Learn from Mistakes
I'm happy to tell you that since I learned that painful lesson (and a few others), I've been in a thriving friendship with a mentor for a while now. I cherish our times together. I wouldn't trade it for anything. And I can tell you that not only am I becoming more and more solid all the time, I have favor with believers because they can trust that I am not going off like a lone ranger. They know and trust who disciples me, so the natural byproduct is that they trust me more and more. This is key to growing in favor with men. My wife feels she can trust me more. My pastors trust me more. I trust me more. I know where I come from, and I want to grow in such a way as to reward my mentor for all his efforts. Opportunities increase, and I've become more willing to step out because I feel more grounded.
Life Will Go Much Better if You Take Things in Order
No matter what your goals, you need to be discipled. Each of us needs to be like Timothy. Timothy was both mentored by Paul and he was a mentor to others. It's the proper flow of discipleship. He served another man's ministry before he was released into his own. Some of us meet Jesus and then for some reason think we need to be in a position of influence ASAP to fix everything that's wrong with the Church. Anyone? Maybe it's just me. We CAN immediately run out into the streets, preaching the gospel, and give it our best shot at making disciples. Don't let me stop you. But let me encourage you to do things in a safer order and find yourself a mentor first. Be a disciple first, and you will be a better discipler. Be faithful in another man/woman's work first. Faithful in little... ruler over much.