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: https://vimeo.com/179798411

Comments

The first thing I thought of when reading your story, Mary, was to wonder, if you hadn't spent that time with her, if you hadn't listened, might she have been successful in her suicide attempt? Only the Lord knows ... How wonderful that you are still in touch 20-odd years later!

CHANGED HEARTS: God isn't fixing hearts He's giving a new heart and new spirit. Jesus changes lives as He changed mine and continually changes me through my failures by reminding me I need to trust Him and pray in faith to Him. I raised four children, three of my own and adopted my niece due to the death of my brother from a drug overdose (who did seek forgiveness just before he died.) I raised them Catholic attending church weekly. They all stopped going to church after high school. I began attending a nondenominational church 9 years ago and introduced them to it as I grew in my relationship with the Lord. Two of my children now attend Christian churches. One of my daughters sought to disciple my adopted daughter who unfortunately has chosen the same path as her father. I watched how devastated she was in believing she was making a difference to be rejected and told lies. I told her that we can try, but it's God that changes people. We have to trust Him and pray to change her heart.

My prayers for your adopted daughter that God may move her heart and continued strength for your other daughter may she never give up planting the seeds of hope for Christ for you never know when God will make them bloom.

This was in a devotional by Linda Bailey this week:
"When some of His disciples were struggling with His teaching, He wasn’t swayed by their opinions but stayed true to His message. He said it with love and understanding, even when He knew this meant His numbers would dwindle.
Thankfully for us, Jesus was not about numbers. He cared about the truth and about individuals." As we struggle with results we need to remember God's got this in His time. I worry that I am losing people, but I just need to keep loving them and leading by example. God knows each heart.

This is such a good reminder, Dawn. I read somewhere that when the resurrected Jesus was talking to Peter on the beach and restoring him to ministry, He told Peter to feed His sheep, not to count them!

This study has revealed places in my heart that I still keep guarded. I am grateful for the leading of the spirit, word of God, and others sharing. It has prompted me to step out, to awaken a spirit of hope, expectation of good things to come. To truly live free in Christ.

Everyone's responses are so amazing this morning! I am blown away by the humility and the vulnerability of my fellow If-Sters! Amazing loving women! You all inspire me every day! I am so thankful for this time in my morning! I pray over all these sweet names representing hearts that long to be disciples for our Most High Perfect God! I love how we all have these many many different circumstances but are all bonded by this desire to know Him and make Him known!

your posts inspire me daily, Michelle.

Your love for the Lord and willingness to share and love all of our messiness. ....that helps get me through the day.

I feel exactly the same Michelle! I receive so much fullness from this place of sisterhood, I'm so grateful!

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