I have been trying to wrap my brain around the sad fact that men and women in todays American church (at times including myself) simply care more about comfort than discipleship.
Why do we ignore and forsake the clear command of Jesus and the foundational method in which Jesus builds His church?
Its because we have another god. The god of comfort.
This particular god is unique in its approach to Christians. It tells believers, especially ministers and seasoned saints, that they are pleasing the Lord by simply reading and praying for others. But thats only one side of the coin.
To be sure we are to be reading scripture on a regular basis and praying for people as opportunity arises; but not to the neglect of discipleship!
Discipleship is the act of purposefully teaching, guiding, directing, praying for and holding accountable another to the aim of fostering healthy Christian maturity. This is usually toward one who is younger in the faith than you.
Discipleship requires you to forsake the god of comfort and to embrace the God ordained means of growing the church (both in depth and width). It requires that you take that precious commodity called time and invest it in another who is seeking to grow in faith.
Of course it’s far easier to ignore the commission of Christ, or even to pigeon hole it into an "evangelism only" passage. But the Words of Christ are not to be ignored and they're not to be pigeon holed. We must do our best (with fallen integrity) to honor all of the passage. Making disciples of all nations is evangelizing all nations.
As I have been reflecting on my personal discipleship relationships with men younger than I in the faith, I quickly came to realize that the god of comfort was creeping up my back. I'd rather read old dead guys and hang out with sharp theologically minded men.
But to what benefit?
Great fellowship to be sure, but something was missing!
I assumed I'd enjoyed these things more than pouring myself into another. But as the Word convicted me I soon came to realize the sweet joy of making disciples.
To hear a disciple tell you of a spiritually focused conversation they had with another that was fueled by your influence over them is indeed a sweet sweet aroma!
To be sure there is nothing wrong with reading old dead guys and hanging with theologically sharp men. In fact I encourage all to engage in such activity, but not to the neglect of making disciples.
Are you in a position to mentor another in the faith?
If so I encourage you to pour yourself out in a life on life relationship with another. The benefits are well worth forsaking the god of comfort.
Our gospel reach is extended when we influence the eager.
Our awareness of integrity is heightened when our disciples watch us
Our counseling skills are sharpened when we bare our disciple’s burdens
Our growth is stimulated when we must teach another regularly
Our prayer life is strengthened in intersession when we intercede for others
And our Lord is glorified when we multiply Him by multiplying ourselves
Matt 28.19-20 - "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you."
Titus 2.2-8 - "Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us."
2 Tim 3.10-11 "You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me"