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.