We may not have a coffee stained book in our hand or a bible study course in our DVD player or a regular prayer time with our family outside of breakfast, lunch, and dinner. But we are still disciple makers. If we can convince someone to follow our way of life, we are making disciples.
I became painfully aware of this fact several nights ago. As my wife and I were powering down for the evening, I began cycling through the various ways to use the last hours of our day. I considered our family devotional, reading, or watching a movie. Driven by tiredness, I opted for the movie. As the screen blinked on, my mind felt conviction. Through God’s grace, I realized that I was not just passing on a traditional biblical discipleship time. I had done much more. I had embraced a humanistic discipleship. In that moment, I had taught my wife (who could not see my internal struggle) that human entertainment was more valuable than Christ. I was discipling her away from God.
I fear that I am not alone in this struggle. As I look about, I see people all throughout Christendom skipping church to go to a sports tournament, replacing quiet times with movies, and missing bible studies to go hunting. I hear about Christians embracing anger when life gets hard, turning to gossip when they are bored, and using alcohol, drugs, or entertainment to escape the struggles of daily life. And when we make these bad choices, we model a faith of self and worldly worship.
Just as flipping the remote influenced my wife, we all will influence our loved ones for good or for ill with every decision we make and with every word we speak. As the continual updates of important, trivial statuses on Facebook and Twitter show, we cannot justify sin by asserting that we live in a social vacuum. We are watched. We all disciple.
For this reason, we need to dive deep into scripture. As we study the Bible in private, with our families, and at church, we will learn how to love God and one another. We will see that God should come before all else. If we seek to make God our priority will excel at heavenly discipleship. If we act as Jesus acted, we will teach our spouses, children and friends to be like Christ.
Admittedly, we cannot disciple perfectly all of the time. I began this post with a story of my own failure. Moreover, we must agree with the words of I John and say that anyone who claims he is not a sinner is liar. But the existence of sin does not excuse us from of life devoted to pursuing the things of God. We must seek as Paul commands in I Corinthians to honor God in everything that we do (even eating and drinking) by relying upon God’s power.
Today, I invite you to join me in to analyzing your life through the lens of discipleship. Let’s daily ask if we are pointing our loved ones to death or to life. When we disciple people in godly living, let’s praise God. And when you or I point loved ones away from God, let’s commit to stopping our actions and ask our gracious God and loved ones to forgive us. We all disciple. Let’s strive to disciple in the gospel!