Man’s Relational Needs: “It is not good for man to be alone.” Gen 2:18, NIV
Needs Training (Discipleship): ”All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” -2 Tim 3:16-17
In “Don’t Walk Alone” (Part #1), we introduced the 5th Spiritual Law. That is, “From eternity past, God created man with ‘relational needs’. According to His plan, mature fruit is produced when His Spirit, through people, supplies (and re-supplies) nutrients to meet these needs” (Gen2). In Part #2, we see His Spirit supplying “what” is needed for men to begin producing healthy fruit. Meeting another’s needs means understanding the Creator’s guidelines. Part #2 is about learning God’s character and values.
Disciples Learn: The word history behind “disciple” (dis-ci-ple) is insightful. According to word historians (i.e., etymologists), “discipere” comes from a compound Latin root (i.e., ‘dis’ + ‘capere’). “Dis”, which means “apart”, implies something is dissected for closer examination. ‘Capere’, which means to “grasp or take hold of”, implies a pupil’s curious handling and probing. Picture a “disciple” as a student or learner who scrutinizes evidence.
Paul, the Apostle, described his focus to the Philippian followers, “How changed are my ambitions! Now I long to know [probe, scrutinize, grasp] Christ and the power shown by his resurrection: now I long to share his sufferings, even to die as he died, so that I may perhaps attain as he did, the resurrection from the dead.” (Philippians 3:10-11, JB Phillips, emphasis added)
Disciples Training. For dads, teachers and leaders, learning can take place anywhere and anytime. Learning opportunities occur in family rooms, kitchens, garages, soccer fields and fast food eateries. Martin Luther (1483-1646) discipled his children each night at dinner. The core of Luther’s Small Catechism was the Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer, God’s person (i.e., Father, Son, Spirit), God’s character (i.e., knowledge, power, timelessness, love, fairness, and more), the Apostle’s Creed, the Lord’s Table, Baptism, Bible study and more. Jeffrey Allen Love, Pastor at Alive Church in Tucson Arizona, created a remarkable, 52-week discipleship plan (www.lifetransformationbible.com). The 52 daily devotions are prologue to his Life Transformation Bible. Both Martin Luther and Jeffrey Love use step-by-step studies of God’s Law and character to disciple right and wrong.
Discipling does not require an advanced seminary degree. Gifted men teach God’s Word in ways that inspire students to respond to the God of grace and truth (Jn 1:14). They show “what” obedience looks like. They display contagious affection for this gracious and merciful God. King David wrote, “Oh, the joys of those who do not follow evil men’s advice, who do not hang around with sinners, scoffing at the things of God. But they delight in doing everything God wants them to, and day and night are always meditating on his laws and thinking about ways to follow him more closely. (Ps 1:1-2, Living Bible)
A Disciple’s Goal – Learn What is Right. As teachers of the next generation, men inspire learners to set boundaries and balance their walk using biblical guidelines. Unpopular as it is today, and whether accepted or not, Christlike behavior is anchored by God’s Law and character. Coaches translate God’s values into good judgment. They pinpoint the consequences of poor decisions. Idolatry, disrespect, lying, killing, adultery, and covetousness come at a price. The wage paid by passivity to immorality, denial of addiction, caving to peer pressure and compromising to sin will always be death (Rom 6:23). Disciples learn these lessons.
A Disciple’s Decision. The underlying hope of every parent/teacher is for their disciple to trust Jesus as Savior and commit themselves to the loving care of His Lordship. The believer’s belt of truth (Eph 6) sustains right living, grounds the Good News, confounds the enemy’s lies, fixes confidence when doubts arise and sharpens our spiritual sword for combat. The foundation for Jesus personal integrity and moral courage in the wilderness (Mt 4) was God’s word; not his supernatural power or divinity which he laid aside (Phil 2). Needs are met when nutrients are sourced from God’s Word, His grace and His truth.
Remember “what” Moses wrote, “Jehovah is our God, Jehovah alone. You must love him with all your heart, soul, and might. And you must think constantly about these commandments I am giving you today. You must teach them to your children and talk about them when you are at home or out for a walk; at bedtime and the first thing in the morning. Tie them on your finger, wear them on your forehead,and write them on the doorposts of your house! (Deut 6:4-9, Living Bible)
Remember “what” David wrote, “ No, I haven’t turned away from what you taught me; your words are sweeter than honey. And since only your rules can give me wisdom and understanding, no wonder I hate every false teaching. Your words are a flashlight to light the path ahead of me and keep me from stumbling. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again and again: I will obey these wonderful laws of yours.” (Ps 119:102-105)
Remember “what” Jesus said, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me [following Me as My disciple], for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest (renewal, blessed quiet) for your souls.” (Mt 11:29, AMP)
When we are grounded in “what” we believe, we are better able to focus on “how” we apply nutrients to people’s needs in the crucible of life. “How” is “Don’t Walk Alone – Coaching Men (Part 3)”.