“I have no greater joy than this: to hear that my children are walking in truth.” 3 John 4
Discipleship. Raising up the next generation in the truth. Passing the torch of faith. I truly do not think that we can emphasize the importance of this enough. The value of Christian discipleship is so incredibly great that Jesus used His final moments here on this earth to charge His disciples with these words:
Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. 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 everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20 CSB
Their steadfast obedience to His command led to the completed Biblical cannon that you and I hold in our hands today, which has resulted in generation after generation hearing the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and being changed by it. Not a single movement, religion, or ruler in the history of the world has had a global impact even remotely comparable to Christianity. Think about it.
Our calendar (both days of the week as well as B.C. and A.D. dating) revolve around the person and work of Jesus Christ. The Bible is the most copied, most translated, most influential book of all time. That’s not opinion, it’s fact. Just look it up. And why? Well, first and foremost, God is in control. Nothing will ever thwart His plans, purposes, will, or Word. Nothing. Secondly, Christ’s followers have taken the command to make disciples seriously. The fiercest of persecutions on the church served only to spread the Gospel, not silence it. Book burnings could not remove the Word of God from circulation. Even in closed countries where there is no freedom of religion, we see the underground church growing and thriving.
Back to 3 John. As we’ve discussed in recent weeks, John was writing this short letter to his friend, his brother in Christ, his son in the faith: Gaius. John had spent time with Gaius, life on life, within the context of community, and their time together was fruitful. Gaius became a believer and grew in his faith under the leadership and influence of John. Now, John recounts with much joy how pleased he is to hear about Gaius’s commitment to the truth.
Who is that person for you? Who spent time investing in your life, modeling faithfulness and righteous living, pointing you toward Jesus? Who walked alongside of you and encouraged you to keep going when you tripped or even fell? Who cheered you on as you ran faithfully? Who was your John?
Now, let’s take it a step further. Who is your Gaius? Who are you currently investing in? Who are you intentionally and actively pointing toward Jesus? Who are you encouraging and cheering on in their walk with the Lord? Who are you discipling?
I think it’s important to address the false belief or misunderstanding that discipleship is a spiritual gift, one that some have and others don’t. This is a mandate, a command given from the very mouth of Jesus to everyone who would call themselves a follower of Him. We are called to not only be disciples but to also be disciple-makers. This is not a suggestion. It’s not an option. Discipleship is far too important for us to remain in places of apathy and complacency.
Think about it. Someone pointed you to Jesus. Your life has been forever changed because of your relationship with Him. Why on earth wouldn’t you want that for someone else? Faith is an heirloom, something intended to be passed down, from one generation to the next. I love discipleship. My calendar is filled with meetings with different women whom I am pouring into and passing on the torch of faith to. I only have one biological child, but I can resonate with the words of John here. I, too, have found great joy when I see my daughters in the faith walking faithfully with Jesus.
Who are you discipling? Who are you pouring into? Friends, be found faithful in this regard.