Two of my sons are 4 and 6 years old. It seems like they are always hungry.
Recently I was knocking out my “to do” list at Lowes and brought the boys with me. I didn’t realize it was time for lunch until I heard those words, “Dadddddyy… I’m huuuuuunnnggrrryyyyy.”
We weren’t even close to home. There was still much to accomplish, so I settled for the best option for the moment: McNuggets. Other than the honey mustard/ketchup combination that will no doubt permeate the back seat, it’s a sure-fire win every time. No whining, full bellies, and stuff gets done.
It wasn’t the healthiest option, but it was the fastest.
A health conscious individual would say a steady diet of McDonald’s would be disastrous. I agree, but my boys may feel differently. On this day, quick hunger control won out over a healthy choice.
Surprisingly, this quick paced mindset isn’t unique to our physical bodies. It is sometimes true of our spiritual life. Our busy schedules, the desire to get things done, maybe even our own desire to see God’s Kingdom expand keeps us from focusing on what our own growth could be like.
We trade intimacy with God for the tyranny of the urgent.
Too often in student ministry, discipleship is abandoned because it lacks the immediacy of satisfying our need to see growth. Our results driven approach sometimes squelches the command that Jesus gave us to go beyond just making converts and move forward to making disciples.
Spiritual growth is not a microwave recipe. There is no drive-thru remedy. It takes time. Urgency, goals, and execution are good and very necessary things, but not at the cost of spiritual growth.
Here are some of Jesus’ thoughts on spiritual growth and what it means to be a disciple:
23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” - Luke 9:23
Being a disciple means following Jesus so closely that every other desire is put aside.
2 And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, commit to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. - 2 Timothy 2:2
In the New Testament, the word “Christian” is used 3 times, but the word “disciple” is used 269 times. God has not called you to just be a convert, but to be a disciple. God’s desire is for you to consistently grow deeper in your relationship with Him and to pass that on to others.
Here are a few ways to skip “drive-thru” spirituality and focus on growing in your relationship with God.
- Pursue God on your own.
Listen to the teaching of the Word, but don’t stop there. As my pastor says, “Get in the Word until it gets into you”. So true. Pursue God on your own, not just when it’s a scheduled time at church. As your intimacy with God grows, your life will change incredibly. God speaks to us through His Word, so commit to knowing what God has said.
- Be discipled.
Ask someone older that you respect, of the same gender, to disciple you and a couple of your friends. Meet weekly. Study the Word, memorize Scripture and hold each other accountable. Watch how God transforms you through biblical community. It’s difficult to make disciples if you have never been discipled.
- Make disciples.
Simply put, disciples make disciples. Share your faith. Lead others to Jesus. Pick three people that you will invest your life in for the next year and follow the same steps as #2. Put 2 Timothy 2:2 into practice and disciple others.
There’s no way I would feed my boys McNuggets every day, in spite of their protest. I want what's best for them and because a spiritual growth doesn’t happen “organically”, we disciple them.
Be a disciple that makes disciples!