The Struggle With Results | IF:Gathering

The Struggle With Results

It feels weird to talk about results when discussing discipleship because it’s difficult to identify the “right” outcome of discipleship. Of course, the end goal of discipleship is to make disciples, and we must always keep this goal at the forefront. However, it is difficult to say that making disciples can only look one way. Discipleship takes on many forms because every person and relationship is different; each person’s journey with God is unique. For instance, God might use you along with many others to influence one person for Christ.

In the end, God is the one who does the work. He is the one who changes hearts. Therefore, we don’t have to get caught up in the results. Our job is to wholeheartedly give our lives to Christ and allow Him to do His work through us.

Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit makes disciples. We must rely on His transformative power, as He is the one who changes hearts. Through the prophet Ezekiel (36:26–27), God promised new spiritual life: “I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.” John 16:8 says that the Holy Spirit is the one who “convicts the world of sin and righteousness.” Matthew 10:19–20 says that the Spirit speaks through us as we make disciples. And the apostle Paul said this about His words: “my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:4–5). Our words don’t have to be perfect, because one’s faith does not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

Let these truths relieve any burden you might feel about discipleship. Make the effort, but remember that God is the one who changes hearts. This truth keeps us from being consumed by the results of discipleship; God is in control of the results. These truths also keep us humble as we remember that the transformative work of God is always the “how” in making disciples.

Now What?
As we remember God’s call, may we go and make disciples. As we go and make disciples, may we remember that the methods of discipleship vary but the message of the gospel stays the same. Think about the community and culture God has placed you in. How do the people in your life need to experience the gospel? Do discipleship in a way that meets the needs of those around you.

Finally, as you go and make disciples remember this: “It is not better methods (we need), but better men and women who know their Redeemer from personal experience—men and women who see His vision and feel His passion for the world—men and women who are willing to be nothing so that He might be everything—men and women who want only for Christ to produce His life in and through them, according to His own good pleasure.”

Watch a captioned version of today's video here:


I have a 2 and 4 year old and can relate so well to your words. I will pray for you as I pray for myself- that the Lord would sustain us and renew us continually through our day. "The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail." Isaiah 58:11

It gets better!!! But this time of just meeting their needs-- feeding, bathing, comforting --- all the many things we mamas do in a day is physical discipleship! It's the foundation of their lives!!! Keep at it in His name! I believe you will get to see results!!!

I echo Michelle!! And take time for you, for soul-rest. It's the least selfish thing you can do for your children and husband, because it creates more fullness for you to pour from. The days are long, but the years are oh so short. Whispering a prayer for you now, sweet mama. xx

You are doing such an important job right now and before you know it, your little ones won't be little anymore, so keep leaning into God to hold you up and gently lead you to what He has for you. Isaiah 40:11 "He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young."

Kate, You are doing the most important discipleship! Mine are grown and only 1 out of my 4 is walking in the Spirit. I wish I could do it all over again. I would disciple them better. It's much harder after they've left the nest. I'm praying for you sweet sister. You are so vital to your children's walk with the Lord. You are being obedient to the Lord and He is pleased with you.

Let me be real honest here. I've been slapped all week with this particular topic. Results are what churches blast on the insta grams "28 people saved today" "51 baptisms". It set the pace of my discipleship methods. Gotta get em'!! Numbers! Numbers! And then I got a swift slap of "pull your Pharisee self together girl!" I was leading a high school girl's as a class at my church and one came to tell me that her and some of the girls had been drinking. I really wanted to speak with wisdom when she came to me and I really think I did. When the other girls found out she told me, they were defensive and told me not to tell their mothers. But someone else had leaked stuff on the Internet and their mama's found out. Then the girls threw me under the bus. I had work so hard on leading them and "I" wanted to be the ones that got them on the right track with God. So, the next year I stepped down and they were led by another lady. The girls are now professing their faith and living for the Lord. I felt like I was a failure, and then the new teacher came and said I've been really working hard with them. Ugh! But then she said, the girls said that it took them getting caught doing something bad to realize they needed Jesus. I was in this but I didn't do it. And the Lord wanted me to see that I didn't bring results, He did. This was so eye opening.

Tough way to learn how God used you! You did make a difference, especially the girl who came to you. You also didn't get to see or feel the guilt of blaming you. God showed you that you did make a difference. He works on us as well as the disciples. Thanks for sharing.

"And then I got a swift slap of "pull your Pharisee self together girl!"... Made me laugh! Love it! Appreciate this example!!

Goodness, thank you for being so transparent. That took such humility and faith -- and I can almost hear the struggle in your voice. Keep leaning into grace, and trusting His Name to be Redeemer! xx

I think part of the beauty and mystery of Gods plan in calling us to make disciples is that it serves dual purposes: to spread his Word AND to sanctify/purify/refine/ us in the process. I think it grows our faith when the results of our efforts are murky or even invisible. What ugly pride would develop if we always immediately saw a direct cause and effect result? God is always about more than one thing at a time and this gives me peace. Our job, as my "adopted pawpaw" says, is to persevere in a long obedience in the same direction. I am so grateful to the IF team for putting together this study. It will be one I come back to for encouragement and redirection over and over again. Thank you so much!


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