What evidence would you expect to find that a person has become a disciple of Jesus? In assessing spiritual progress, what evidence would you expect to find? Before reading farther, stop to make a list.
While your list may contain many items, mine is really a list of four categories. They are fairly inclusive, but I don’t claim that they are exhaustive. Consider (and compare to your list) the following:
- Encounters. The primary encounter is a daily time spent together with God in His Word. When this is a fresh, daily relationship, the evidence will overflow the life cup. The secondary encounter is with people. Time with God will naturally change interaction with people. And the point of disciple-making is pointing others toward a relationship with Jesus.
- Obedience. The result of an encounter with God in His Word is meeting Him, being changed, and obeying. Obedience shows up in character (internal) which will naturally be displayed in conversation and example (external).
- Skills. Skills result from training, practice, and experience. Some skills that could be included as disciple-making evidence might be Bible study, journaling, sharing Jesus/witnessing, spiritual disciplines, and more. Relationship and obedience must be kept fresh so that skills avoid becoming meaningless rituals.
- Multiplication. This evidence can be fairly obvious but is too often missing. There are different at least four levels of multiplication evidence. Does the disciple talk about what has been learned? Beyond conversation, does the disciple share Jesus? Does the disciple invest in discipling others? An even more advanced level could be coaching disciple-makers.
Do all the items on your list fall into one of these categories? If some are different, leave a comment and and share what’s on your list. Catch a disciple doing something good, and encourage him/her this week. Make sure your evidence points to the One you serve rather than yourself. Make disciples!