Trillia Newbell is a freelance journalist and writer. She writes on faith and family for The Knoxville News-Sentinel, Desiring God, and serves as the managing editor for Women of God Magazine. Her love and primary role is that of a wife and mother. She lives in Tennessee with her husband Thern and their two children.
Solitaire was crafted to be played alone and writing is often something done in solitude. Those things are great to do alone. But for only a period. Eventually solitaire gets boring and writing for publication is never truly done alone (editors and others contribute). There are few things that are truly completed, sustained, and enjoyed completely alone. This is most definitely true of the Christian life. We might think we can make it on our own without the care of others, but we can’t. We will crumble under the weight and pressures of this world and our own flesh. It’s also not how God intended it to be.
Matthew 28: 19-20, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Jesus commands the eleven disciples to go and make disciples, to share the gospel so that those who don’t know Him might come to be a follower of Him. But he doesn’t end there. Jesus commands that they make disciples and teach them. Discipleship is obviously not necessary for salvation but it is a useful tool for contributing to growth in godliness, the edification of a sister or brother, and communion with God.
I remember becoming a Christian and zealously desiring to share the gospel and then realizing I didn’t really know what the gospel was. I knew that I was forgiven, I sensed that there was a new desire in my heart to please God and that it wasn’t to please him to earn his favor, it was because I had a new love for Him that wasn’t there before. But I didn’t understand all the implications of the gospel. Don’t misunderstand me, you don’t have to know much to share, I shared because I loved Jesus. But I was eager to learn more and thankfully had women in my life who were willing to teach me. We have to humble ourselves to allow others the opportunity to teach us what we don’t know. For me, I wasn’t humble, I was excited. Now though, it takes much more effort to sit and listen to the instruction, encouragement, admonishment, and wisdom of others. But I know that God gives grace to the humble and opposes the proud (James 4: 6). By God’s grace, we can position ourselves in such a way to learn from others.
Go and Teach
It takes some effort also to fulfill the second part of the Great Commission to teach disciples. We are busy and honestly often self-absorbed. It is hard to carve out time to serve, care for, and teach other people. But as we spend time investing in others, we quickly find out that we are the ones who most benefit. I know that has been my experience. When I’ve discipled others I’ve noticed I’m reading more to gain a better understanding or to answer a question, I’m praying for my friends, I’m preaching the gospel to myself as I preach it to my friend. These are only a few ways the Lord uses seasons of discipleship. In many ways, it’s simply another way to walk out our faith in the commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:39). Have you been going it alone in your Christian walk? If so, go and be discipled. Who do you know that God might be calling you to invest in? Go and teach.
You can follow Trillia on Twitter @trillianewbell