4 Building Blocks for Successful Discipleship-part 3-Bearing the Burdens

This installment in the Invest series is the third building block for successful discipleship- bearing the burdens. The first installment was simply titled Invest , the second was Invest-part 2, the third was 4 Building Blocks to Successful Discipleship-part 1-Be an Example, and the fourth was part 2-Build the Relationship.

I’m definitely not an expert on the subject, I don’t have it all figured out, and I have so much to learn.  The tips and tools I’m sharing in this bible study series on biblical discipleship have been born out of a lot of mistakes and failures, and a few successes.

Everything is a learning experience if you let it be.  Discipleship thus far has been a blessing, even when it was heartbreaking and hard.

~Galatians 6:2~ Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Bear means to carry, to take up, to lift off of someone.  A burden is heaviness, weight, trouble, and a load.  Some examples of things that commonly weigh women down are:

  • Finances
  • Relationships
  • Emotions
  • Work/school/sports
  • Sin

So far the blog post that has gotten the most comments on is From Worry to Worship~ Shifting your focus from the “What ifs” to “What is”.  A lot of women carry that burden of worry on their shoulders and need the help of a sober minded woman to learn how to turn that worry into worship.  

Bearing the burdens in discipleship is:

CounselingDiscipleship is a lot of counseling. Yes, you are teaching them the word of God, and training them how to walk with God, but you are also walking beside them as they go through life.

The two main things to remember when counseling:

  • Listen more than you speak- Proverbs 18:13~ He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.  Don’t try to give counsel before hearing what is exactly going on in their lives.  Let them share what’s on their heart.  Ask questions to get to what the real burden is.  That is one way you’re going to lift that off of them.

~Proverbs 17:28~ Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.

There’s a time to give advice, and there’s a time to just listen.

Think of the example of Job’s friends when he lost everything.  They sat silent and mourned with him for the first seven days (Job 2:11-13).  Then Job finally speaks of his misery and in chapter 4:2, Eliphaz says “who can withhold himself from speaking?” and begins to let Job know why he thinks Job’s in that predicament.

A lot of what these friends said to him was truth, but not true of Job’s situation, nor was it necessary or helpful.  They didn’t have the knowledge that Satan was tempting Job to blaspheme God.  We don’t have full knowledge of everything going on in another woman’s life either, so run it through that filter- is it kind, helpful or necessary?

  • Leave them with wise counsel- They really don’t need our opinion, or advice, they need help bearing those burdens with counsel from the word of God. Proverbs 19:21~ There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.

This is where being familiar with your bible is essential. You need to know the scriptures that address the specific burden they have.

You may feel ill-equipped to do this.  I’m going to help get tools in your hand to be able to be more confident in this area, by providing a how to study the bible series in the future.  But you have to remember that in that position of feeling inadequate to minister to someone else, is exactly where God wants you.

Rely on the Holy Spirit’s leading. He knows exactly what they need to hear, so if you are in tune with the Spirit and following his direction, you’ll be giving wise counsel.  Before every discipleship session or before you answer any text or phone call, pray that the Spirit would give you direction.

If it’s a situation that’s pretty serious and over your head, don’t be ashamed to tell them that.  Direct them to your trusted counselor or someone you know has a testimony of godliness and wisdom that could help.  We don’t have all the answers, but God’s word does and he has placed skilled counselors within the body for this exact reason.

So prayerfully, and with the Spirit’s leading, share with them wise counsel from the word or help them get the help they need.  The next key component to bearing burdens is to have:

Compassion

  • Love them like Jesus- My favorite example of having compassion is the story Jesus tells in Luke 10:25-37, about the good Samaritan. He had compassion on him, dressed his wounds, gave him his ride, took care of him, and provided for his financial need to get the recuperation he needed.

To fulfill the law of Christ is to love your neighbor as yourself, like the good Samaritan did. Sometimes we need to help bear their burdens physically by providing material needs to help lift their financial burden a little.  Maybe we need to babysit for them to give them a little break.  Or go to the funeral when their loved one dies.  Organize meals for them when they need it.

~1Peter 3:8~ Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous.     

  • Lead them to the Lord-  Matthew 11:28-30- Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.  Some people are carrying around a burden of guilt, shame, and sin, and need to be brought to the Lord for salvation.

Sharing the good news of the gospel lifts those burdens. That’s loving them, and having compassion and care for their soul.

Casting those cares on Christ

  • Lift them to the Lord- Pray for them! Jesus is really the one who bears all of our burdens.  We can’t hang on to them, we have to lift them off of our disciple or friend, and lift them right up to Jesus.

Lift them up to the throne of grace so they can obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. You may be the only one praying for them.

  • Lead them to the throne- In the last point you are praying, in this one you teach them how to do it themselves. Always be setting the example for your disciple and training them how to walk through the trials of life with the Lord.Teach them how to cast their cares on Christ, so they will eventually go straight to him to bear their burdens instead of to you.

When we bear the burdens in discipleship by counseling, with compassion, and casting the cares on Christ, we minister in a way that changes lives. When we minister like Jesus did, we can know the blessing of fruit that remains.

~Romans 15:1~ We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.

4 Building Blocks to Successful Discipleship- part 1

Here’s the next installment of my biblical discipleship series titled Invest- 4 Building Blocks to Successful Discipleship, part 1- Be an Example.  You can read the two previous posts here and here.

~Titus 2:3~ The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;

God is infinitely more concerned with us being godly women than with us doing anything for him. That is why his exhortation to godly character precedes his instruction to teach younger women.

The more mature women in the body are to be an example of:

Sanctified Behavior– “in behavior as becometh holiness”

  • Stand Out from the Crowd!   This church plant in Crete was in the midst of a pagan, idolatrous, wicked environment. The world we live in is no different. The world our girls are growing up in is a crooked and perverse place.  The ladies that come in fresh from the world with no benefit of a godly upbringing carry the baggage of their carnal mindset, just like I did, and need to know what is expected of them as a new believer.  They’re going to need women to look to. They are looking for women like this!

If you read my blog post titled “I’m a Fool!”, you know that when I got saved I was really foolish.  I wanted to be wise and godly so the Lord taught me his word, and gave me a spiritual mentor, a living example to learn from.  I got to see a sober, submissive, Spirit-filled, servant in action.

He didn’t do all that for me just for my sake or the sanity of my husband and children, he sanctified me (and continues to) so that I can be an example to other women.  So that I can disciple and teach from a place of humility, understanding, experience, and God-given authority. And he wants to do the same for you!

Fast Fact: Holiness means uniqueness, set-apartness, or sanctified.

The aged women in the body should stand out from the immature, and the lost, they should be unique.  They should make holiness look good for the younger women, as something they should aspire to.  Psalm 29:2 says to “Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.”  Holiness is beautiful to the Lord, and it should be to us as well.

Our holiness is dependent on our walk with Jesus, our worship of Jesus, putting in the words of Jesus, and following the ways of Jesus. Ladies should be able to see from our attitudes and actions that there is something very different about us, something they desperately want themselves. The good things listed here that the mature women are to teach the younger women, she needs to be living out in her own life.  Not perfectly obviously, but making progress through her sin issues, always pursuing Christ-likeness. This is sanctified behavior.

The younger women should see that we don’t just read and teach these things, but we actually believe them enough to obey them!  Proverbs 31:10 says “Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies.”  Is it not the same in this world today? Virtuous women are so rare, and so hard to find.  I think it’s time to change that!

  • Stop the Carnality! At salvation the Lord starts conforming us to the image of Christ by pointing out areas in our lives that aren’t holy.  He brings us from carnality to Christ-likeness the more we repent at his conviction of sin, and submit to walk in his ways instead of our own.

~1Peter 1:15-16~ But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

Speaking Truth – “not false accusers”

  • Stop Slandering! “Accuser” comes from the Greek word “diabolos” meaning Satan or traducer.  This word is also used as “slanderer” and “devil” in the New Testament.  Proverbs 10:18 says “He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool.”

Slanderers seek self-elevation and start division.  A false accuser is a pawn of Satan who is being used to sow discord within the body, by spreading lies.

For a biblical illustration of this, read Numbers 12, and checkout my blog post on Miriam- A devilish diva!

The bible says that death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof (Proverbs 18:21).  You have in your words, the ability to speak truth that brings life, or lies that bring death. Slander is deadly to relationships, and kills the unity within the body.

~Proverbs 31:26~ She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. 

We are to be the example of sanctified behavior, speaking truth, and of a:

Sober Mindset– “not given to much wine”

  • Stay out of slavery to sin! “Given” means to be enslaved to, to be in bondage to, or become a servant of.  Not given to much wine means not a slave to alcohol.  This is the same instruction given to pastors in 1Timothy 3:3, Titus 1:7, and for deacons in 1Timothy 3:8. So the aged women are held to the same standard as the pastors and deacons of the church.

The bible forbids us from being drunk on alcohol.  Ephesians 5:17-18 says “Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is, and be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.”

While the bible specifically mentions being drunk on wine, we know that in our world today there are so many more things we can ingest to dull our senses and change our mood and mindset that ultimately bring us into bondage.  We become enslaved to them, and we turn those things instead of to the Lord to help us in time of need. We as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are not to be controlled by anything other than the Holy Spirit inside of us, and we are not to put anything in the place of God.

  • Start thinking soberly!To change our actions, we must change our thinking. Romans 12:1-2 says “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”  Our minds are renewed and we are transformed by putting the word of God in.

A sober mind is a controlled, disciplined, sound mind that filters everything through God’s word.  The only way to have a sober mind is to fill our minds with divine truth.  When trial or temptation comes, we need to cast down imaginations (2Corinthians 10:3-6), and think on things that are true (Philippians 4:8). 

In that moment of decision, stop and ask yourself “what is true?” and apply God’s word to it.  Walk in the Spirit and choose to believe God’s word over how you feel. Contrary to popular belief, you can help it, you do have a choice, and it is possible to be free of emotional instability and bondage to habitual sin.

Pray for the Lord’s help to remember truth, resist temptation, and remain triumphant.  Be intentional to invest in your spiritual growth, be an example to other women by being sober, speaking truth, and having sanctified behavior.  Give them something they will want to follow and learn from!

Biblical discipleship the way Jesus did it is intentional, personal, radical, and fruitful. Stay tuned for the next installment of the Invest Series for building block number 2-Building the Relationship!