The post title is intentionally ambiguous. Stop to process the possible questions being asked:
- Who has invested and impacted you as a disciple over the years?
- Who is currently investing in and impacting your growth as a disciple?
- In whom are you investing and impacting as they grow as a disciple?
I have talked to many Christians, pastors, staff, and church leaders who have not had anyone intentionally invest in their discipleship. But no one is without impact from three persons:
- GOD. We are disciples of Jesus when we love one another (John 13:35) and when we do what He commanded (Matthew 28:19-20). But our relationships with others and our actions will be more Christ-like when we regularly spend time with God in prayer and Bible study. In fact, personal and relational discipleship are impacted by the overflow of our ongoing, growing relationship with God. I find I cannot help but share what I am discovering about God when the encounter and relationship are fresh rather than stale.
- OTHERS. Growing discipleship demands care and risk. Trust and transparency can only be deepened through time and experience of sharing honestly and openly with others. In turn, personal and relational discipleship require time and experience together. We and disciples often grow best as we spend time together formally and informally. This involves doing life together: serving together, having fun together, and walking through challenges together.
- SELF. Loving ourselves means caring for our physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. How can we love God and others if we do not love ourselves? Others will see much more than we realize. And our example is important! Rest. Eat right. Exercise body, mind, and soul. Time spent here is not wasted. Such time is well invested in making you more productive and attentive along with giving you the potential for lengthened years of impact.
Grade yourself: A for excellent, C for mediocre, and F for failing. How are you doing in each of these three relationships? What is one thing you can do to take a small step this week toward raising your grade in one area? If you are struggling for ideas, share this blog post with a friend and brainstorm some possibilities together. (By the way, that may be the very small step that is needed this week!)
Do you want to grow even more this year as a disciple? Invest in all three relationships. Remember Jesus emphasized the importance of loving God, others, and self in Mark 12:30-31. When we grow in our relationship with God, it strengthens our growth as disciples and disciple-makers. The same is true when we grow in our relationship with disciples. And the more we know and love ourselves the way God does, the better we can grow and invest in others.
For more ideas about growing as a disciple, check out these blog posts: