Published Mar 14, 2023
Discipleship is more than a program. It’s a command for all women.
When we examine Scripture, we learn that discipleship is not simply a class we take or a program we join. Discipleship is a lifelong journey of walking with others as we (and others) walk with Jesus. Discipleship helps us discover who God is, who we are in Christ, the power and victory in Jesus for life transformation, and our purpose/mission in life. A new disciple will come to know and experience all of these things when they see us living out our abundant life in Christ.
The Paul, Barnabas, and Timothy principle of discipleship
It’s true that we need to abide in Christ daily to be what we are called to be and to do what we are called to do, but discipleship goes beyond our personal relationship with Christ. We also need to be connected to the body of Christ for spiritual growth, accountability, and encouragement.
It is said that as believers, we need three types of people in our lives: a Paul, a Barnabas, and a Timothy.
A vibrant relationship with God radiates from a woman who has been discipled by a godly woman; therefore, having a Paul in our lives will help us mature in Christ and reflect God’s glory. We also need many godly friends/peers in our lives, like a Barnabas (who was called the son of encouragement), who will listen to us, pray with us, and hold us accountable. Finally, we need to disciple others just as Paul did with Timothy, so our disciples will learn how to disciple others and live out their transformed lives in Christ.
The Paul, Barnabas, and Timothy principle encourages a Biblical model of reproducing and multiplying disciples. It means that as we continually move through our own process of discipleship, we have a duty to invest in the next generation of spiritual leaders, and so on and so forth.
Who is our Timothy?
The time we spend with a disciple is never wasted, and the spiritual impact is far-reaching, but how do we know which woman/women God calling us to invest in?
In Ezekial, we read about God’s anger towards Israel’s leaders who cared only for themselves and neglected and abused His people, leaving them wandering, scattered, alone, and vulnerable to evil. Ezekiel prophesized against Israel’s shepherds, and God said He would shepherd His own people. Ezekiel 34 alludes to four types of people who were in need of care.
- Healthy– God calls us to feed the healthy so they can, in turn, shepherd/disciple others. “Woe to you shepherds of Israel who only take care of yourselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock?” (v2)
- Young/weak – Strengthen the young in their faith so they can become mature disciples and disciple others; being young can also mean in age, which means we are called to invest in our next generation of spiritual leaders. “…but you do not take care of the flock. You have not strengthened the weak…” (v4)
- Injured – Bind up the injured by helping them identify their issues/hurts/bondages so they can be set free in Christ through His Spirit, power, and truth. “You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured.” (v4)
- Lost – Search out the lost and bring them into the flock. “You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally. So they were scattered because there was no shepherd, and when they were scattered, they became food for all the wild animals. My sheep wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. They were scattered over the whole earth, and no one searched or looked for them.” (v4-6)
Seeking out the lost is reinforced in the New Testament. Matthew 18 says, “…truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.” Here, Jesus demonstrates why He is the Good Shepherd. He will leave the 99 in the safe sheep pen to look for the one lost sheep.
Be a discipling discipler
No matter what stage of life we are in, let us be encouraged by God’s Word. Let us spur each other on towards intentionally engaging all women. There is always room for personal, spiritual growth, and there is always a woman (or women) who needs you to reach out and disciple her.
So, let us go out and make disciples of all nations.