I have never been a fan of the word “resolution” when it comes to a New Years commitment. It does not mean what most people think it means. Merriam-Webster defines it as:
: the act of finding an answer or solution to a conflict, problem, etc. : the act of resolving something
: an answer or solution to something
Most people think that it means to “resolve to do something,” but according to the dictionary, it does not mean that. Reguardless of whether or not we are using the right word or not is irrelevant to this post though. If you want to use the word “resolution”, then go for it. I choose to use the words: “goals, ambitions, or aspirations”
In this post, I want to challenge you to rethink your new year’s goals and then add one to your list. I want to challenge you to reproduce yourself in someone else this year. I want to challenge you to disciple, mentor, and live life with someone who needs to grow in Christ. The idea is to find someone who is not as mature of a Christian as you are and pour your life into theirs, live life with them, and go out of your way to minister to them at every opportunity possible. Maybe the person is not even a Christian yet, maybe the goal is to reach them with the gospel. Maybe they have just become a Christian and they are trying to learn how to live the Christian life. Maybe they are a newlywed couple and you and your spouse can help them though the beginnings of their marriage. Maybe it’s a teenager without a mom or without a dad. There are lots of people out there with lots of different needs.
I can already hear the excuses now. I don’t have time! I don’t know what to do. I don’t know anyone that I could mentor. I am not worthy to mentor someone. I already teach a Sunday School Class. etc, etc, etc.
The thing is, this is what Christ left us to do, this is the example that He gave us, and this is what we are all called to do as Christians. I know, I know, you want proof. You think we are just supposed to go to church, tell people about Christ when we have a chance and live a good life. God does not require us to mentor, disciple, and live life with younger or more immature Christians. Let me show you a few passages that just might change your mind and help you see the importance of this discipline in our Christian lives.
1. The Command:
Matthew 28:19-20 “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
The words “teach all nations” uses the same Greek word as “disciple”. The Greek word is mathēteuō which can also be translated “to make disciples”. Jesus commanded us to make disciples of the people around us, so why are we not fulfilling this commandment?
2. The Commitment:
Acts 18:11 “And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the Word of God among them.”
Paul spent time “among them.” This means that Paul lived life with them for a year and a half. If we want to make a change in people’s lives, we must live life with them and spend time with them. We live in a culture of instant gratification. We want our food fast and just the way we ordered it, we want our coffee hot and with all the extra ingredients, we have our remote controls, smart phone, laptops, kitchen gadgets, automobiles, etc. to get things done quickly and with minimal effort on our parts. We have programmed ourselves to be a bunch of fat cats. Well, I am sorry to tell you, but that simply will not work with Christianity. It takes time to produce and disciple mature Christians. Don’t think that someone is going to mature in Christ to the level that then need to be by simply coming to church on Sunday’s and listening to the preacher. We as mature Christians must spend deliberate and quality time with younger Christians in order to get them to where God wants them in their Christian lives.
3. The Challenge:
I Thessalonians 2:8 “So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us.”
The challenge is making people “dear unto us” . . . Most Christians do not really truly care about others like Christ does. I believe that if we love people the way Christ loves us, then we would be eager to mentor, disciple, and live life with others. There is nothing hard about mentoring someone, it is just an outpouring of your life into theirs. It is simply spending time with someone because you love them and want to see them succeed as a Christian.
Can I challenge you to rethink your new year’s goals? Can I challenge you to find someone that you can pour your life into? Can I challenge you to live out the Great Commission in your own back yard? Disciplining is not just for the pastor, missionary or deacon . . . disciplining is a mandate from God for every Christian!
I look forward to hearing about all the young Christians out there that are being mentored this new year. I also look forward to sharing stories with you in the future of the people that we are working with here in the Dominican Republic. I am currently working with a 19 year old boy that lost his father when he was 5 and I am trying to work with another 14 year old boy, but his father does not want him to be discipled. Pray for both of these guys and for the father to change him mind. Julia and I are also working with a small group within our youth group, and every Tuesday we have between 20-25 kids over to our house from an underprivileged neighborhood to encourage them and to share the Gospel with them. Let me encourage you to get involved with people’s lives. God as given Julia and I an ability to work with teens, but maybe you have different abilities. Let’s make sure we are all using those abilities to evangelize and disciple other around us that are in need.
May God Bless you and your family as we enter the New Year.