Often when I begin teaching, I begin with the following questions:
Who is discipling you?
Who are you discipling?
What method of discipleship do you use?
How do you pray? (what method of prayer do you practice and teach others?)
But, lately, I am learning that the most important question of these four, for me and I think for all of us, is the first. "Who is discipling us?
Who is discpling me is of first importancce because it is far easier to know and understand our spiritual program and what steps a person needs to take to grow in their relationship with God than it is to actually do it ourselves. The biggest hinderance to spiritual growth is the difficulty of taking action. Our lethergy has inertia, and we often need a coach to encourage us to take even the simplest actions. Just like any coaching relationship, the program is coaching by assignment, and it is vital, life or death, that we do certain assignments if we are to overcome our lethargy and in turn spiritually grow.
For example, Jesus teaches in the Sermon on the Mount the following:
Matt 7:7"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! 12"So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
Follow the logic of this passage. Jesus says God is a generous giver. The father knows what you need, and he provides. Even evil people provide for their kids, therefore…..therefore what???
Therefore, “whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also for them”. But, I thought Jesus was teaching on prayer. Shouldn’t it say..therefore, keep asking and keep seeking, like so many people preach. Focus on your needs and pray for what you need, and God will give it to you. No!!!! That is not the message. The message is, "therefore, know that your needs are taken care of and instead turn your eyes to the needs of others." DO TO OTHERS what you need, and God will provide.
Because God is a good Father and fathers look after the needs of their kids, you are now free to simply ask for your needs to be met and then FOCUS ON THE NEEDS OF OTHERS.
Another possible way to say it is because God is focused on your needs, you can focus on the needs of others. This principle is completely liberating IF IT IS ACTED UPON!!!!
This otherly focus is a total revolution and a totally new orientation toward life. The results are unexpected. We focus on the needs of others and actually experience the freedom of knowing our needs are cared for. Hmmm??? That makes no logical sense. Yes, I don't really care to explain how it works. All that matters is that it does work.
Lets say we are down and feeling a little needy. What is the answer?? Call someone in need and serve them. Do unto others as you would like done unto you!! This fool has tried it thousands of times, and I have never found Jesus’ teaching to fail me.
Taking action is the key to our spiritual growth. It is not important to really understand how it works. The kingdom is like a farmer who sows seed and whether it is day or night somehow the seed sprouts. How it works he does not know. It seems the soil produces fruit of its own, but when the harvest comes he reaps the harvest.
That is exactly what I have found to be true. We must take action whether it makes sense or not and just trust the commandments of Jesus. He who practices and teaches other these commands will be great in the kingdom.
So find someone and ask them to help you out of your spiritual lethargy. Spritual change comes from taking action. Find a friend to coach you and push you, like a coach, to take action. Find someone in need. Go to the highways and byways if need be and begin to take action. You will find that before you are half way through the process, you will be amazed at the results. So, get a coach, and reap a harvest of peace and joy.