2 Timothy 2:1-2 – “You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” NASB
Making disciples, as seen in verse two ‘commit to…’ is essentially ‘making a deposit’ in their lives. It is like putting money in the bank. You drive alongside or go inside and deposit the money and the money is there when you need it. But, what about the times when you do that with people and they quit on you, betray you, hurt you, leave you, abandon, you in the time of heated battle?
You may say, ‘that deposit didn’t work am I supposed to do it again?’ YES! Everyone’s been hurt or will be hurt. If ‘fear’ grips your heart you dare not go back into isolation and refuse to risk being hurt again. If you do, then the devil’s plan is succeeding. The temptation is always there to protect your heart from hurt but when you realize that you cannot if you are to continue in the ministry and fulfill the commission the Lord gave us you will press on. Always remember you cannot function in battle alone and be effective. This is a Body Ministry. This is an Army! This is a Family! This is not a bunch of isolated individuals or body parts trying to be the whole for that is certain defeat!
In making disciples we quickly learn the power and importance of Forgiveness! We must determine that we will forgive, forgive, and forgive. That will prevent a root of Bitterness from springing up in our hearts and defiling us and others. It is necessary to maintain order and keep the battle moving forward. If we have been ‘abandoned’ in the war zone we need to be ‘healed’ and ‘restored.’ Refuse to allow wounds to fester and become infected. Healing comes by allowing the wound to be opened, the blood to flow to it and life to be administered.
A word of wisdom and warning – “Pick the right friends this time!” Do not be too quick to lay hands on people. How do you pick the right ones? Discernment and testing! I’ve had people want to be friends and comrades in arms as the battle began only to find that they quickly became disillusioned and disappointed. They had expectations of me that I could not fulfill and therefore they turned on me. Some have been offended that I would joke, laugh, enjoy recreational sports, etc. They expected me to be, as they stated “different” which really meant ‘abnormal’ and ‘weird’. They had not learned that we are all human and even Jesus was anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows.
It would be easy to say, “Never again. I won’t risk being hurt.” That attitude and approach will seal the deal, making failure certain and limit any effectiveness we might have in the kingdom. Too many pastors have allowed the wrong people to be made ‘elders’ and ‘deacons.’ We do that in our churches and our lives too frequently. That is why it is vital that we exercise the ‘discerning of the Spirit.’
Always remember that the qualifications for leadership are not ‘community influence’, ‘financial status’, ‘charisma’, or ‘perceived leadership potential.’ It is Commitment! We all have the capacity for a great number of friends but only room for a few close intimate relationships. You are to ‘deposit’ a portion of your life into that person or persons and that deposit is precious so guard it with your all. You are going to war with this individual so you must Know Them! In war, you must “know” your fellow soldiers will stand and do their jobs. Your life may and probably will depend on it. I am not talking about preferences I am talking about War! Once you have committed your life to Jesus you are a candidate for Font Line Duty!
There is nothing more destructive to a local fellowship than misplaced leadership. Likewise, there is nothing more destructive to an individual life than misplaced friendships or relationships. 1 Corinthians 15:23 tells us that “bad company corrupts good morals.” Proverbs 25:19 teaches that “confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth or a foot out of joint.” It is painful and can be quite harmful.
In your enlistment in the Army of God, I pray that God not only equips you for battle but enables you to equip others and to have the spiritual insight and discernment to recognize the ‘right people’ to stand with.
Blessings as you go through your day!