Monday, May 10, 2021

Devotionals for the Heart: Discipleship

Delving into Discipleship
A devotional by Cyndi Staudt

“Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” – Matthew 28:19 (NLT)

Maybe you’ve seen the adorable video online that opens with an adorable puppy, Daisy, at the top of a flight of stairs. She is scared and apprehensive about going down the stairs.

Despite the encouragement of its owner, this sweet puppy paces across the landing anxiously, unsure of itself. Her whimpers of fear squeak out and this fear keeps her at the top, desperately wanting to join her owner at the bottom of the stairs yet not ready to tackle the mountain of stairs before her. Next thing you know, her older canine brother Simon runs to join her at the top and then bounds back down the stairs, showing her how easy it is. Yet, Daisy still isn’t brave enough to take the steps needed. Her brother runs back to the top of the stairs to show her again. This time, he waits until she takes her two front paws and places them both solidly on the first step. Then he runs down the steps again to show his sweet sister how to take the next steps.

Daisy remains at the top of the stairs, awkwardly paralyzed with her two front paws on the first step and her two back paws still safely planted on the landing. Simon comes back up the stairs and stands in front of her, staring her in the eyes as if to say, “Keep your eyes on me. I’ve got you.” Daisy turns her head and looks back, contemplating just going back to what’s familiar, the safety of the landing. And then she steps back up, just not ready to move forward. Simon bounds back up to the landing with her, not willing to leave her there. After a few more ups and downs, little Daisy finally dares to take one step, then the next, then the next. Simon stays by her side until she is all the way down, and cheering ensues from her family waiting at the bottom for her.

When I first became a Christian I felt a bit like Daisy – scared and unsure of taking steps away from what was familiar. It made no difference how messed up my “familiar” was; it was my comfort zone and I had learned how to survive in it. But God didn’t create us to remain in our comfort zone and He certainly didn’t save us to just survive. His goal is for us to thrive, to give us “more than we can ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20), “to prosper us and not to harm us” (Jeremiah 29:11). But how was that going to happen for this newly-saved babe in Christ?

While we are guaranteed the wisdom and guidance of the Holy Spirit, it helps. But let’s face it, it’s a must to also have fellow Christians to share our walk of faith with. That’s where you and I come in. At some point we were all a Daisy. But God wants and expects us to move into the role of Simon at some point. We need to be an encourager and leader and show a new believer how to take their first steps down the road of faith. We should “think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24).

Matthew 28:19 tells us to “go and make disciples of all the nations.” The dictionary defines “disciple” as “a follower or a student of a teacher or leader”. When we put our faith in Jesus, we are saved; but to become His disciple we need to start following His example and studying His teaching. Matthew 28 continues on in verse 20 to encourage us to “teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you”. While we are to introduce unbelievers to Jesus, we are also called to link arms with new believers and help them to take their first steps on their faith journey. In fact, we may have to walk with them for a few months or even years until they are ready to walk on their own. Then they too can move from being a Daisy to a Simon.

Where are you in your faith journey? Are you a Daisy – stepping gingerly into your newfound faith? Do you have a Simon in your life – a Christian mentor who can show you what steps to take and how and when to take them? If you need a mentor, start praying and ask God to reveal who that might be for you. Or have you moved out of your Daisy phase and are now ready to become a Simon to someone?

Can you think of someone in your life that needs to meet Jesus? Invite them to church with you. Do you know a new believer who might not yet have a mentor? Consult God and ask if you might be the one He has in mind to step into that role. No matter what stage you find yourself in, you have a role to play and a purpose to fulfill. Doing your part for God’s Kingdom will help others do theirs. And in this way we live out being the body of Christ!

Let’s Pray: Heavenly Father, help us to remember that our primary call while on Earth is to lead others to you and then help them take steps forward in their faith. As followers of Jesus, let us live our lives in a way that makes you attractive to others (Titus 2:10), giving them a desire to get to know you. May the example we set always demonstrate the love and grace that you freely extend and lead others to a deeper, more personal relationship with you. In Jesus’s mighty name I pray. Amen.

Author Bio:

Cyndi Staudt is a Jesus-loving, adrenaline junkie who is devoted to living her life for Jesus Christ until the day she is living with Him.  

With a passion for cultivating a craving for God’s Word, her devotions and Bible studies are saturated with faith and hope to stir your soul to connect with God in deeper, more intimate ways.

Through her writing she hopes to ignite your desire to read God’s Word, invite your heart to experience God’s love, and inspire you to live your live life “souled out” to the One whose love has no limits.

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