There will be times when your disciple’s behavior may be unexplainable or erratic. Often the reason for this behavior will even be a mystery to your disciple; he might be doing what he does not want to do or not doing what he does want to do. The role of a discipler is to help the disciple discern what is going on in his inner man and to teach him the ways of God with His children.
One reason for unexplainable behavior is a log jam of mental, spiritual, and spiritual energies which are not utilized by the disciple as the Lord intended. Each disciple has been given gifts by the Holy Spirit designed to be used for the kingdom of God. Some are gifted as teachers, leaders, artists, musicians, servants, while others may write, teach children, build, or organize. This log jam of unused gifts causes a mounting pressure in the inner man that result in disruptive behavior and attitudes: depression, anger, fear, sexual sin, addictions, eating disorders, materialism, etc. In contrast, a disciple finds fulfillment and joy when he has an outlet for his gifts and abilities.
Although I cannot go into all the different log jams here, I will give a couple of examples. Jake was gifted with compassion. This gift made Jake aware of the needs of others and equipped him with a reservoir of love to share with others. Yet because he had not been taught what to do with this compassion he “stuffed” it rather than extending it to others. Jake then would self medicate with alcohol and drugs to cope with the hurt he saw around him and deaden the pain of not having an outlet for his compassion.
Cliff was gifted with an extraordinary intellect. His mind was always asking questions, seeing contradictions, and on a search for truth. Cliff would become caught in a frustrating loop of unanswered questions. He wondered what was wrong with him.
Here are a couple ideas I have used to help my disciple with log jams:
- Examine together with your disciple the ways of God with His men and women in the Scriptures. The path of a disciple is the way of faith. Joseph, David, Ruth, and Mary are some of the Biblical characters who serve as guides for your disciple in the life of faith.
- Ask your disciple what was the most fulfilling thing he has ever done or experienced and why. This question will help your disciple identify a time when he was utilizing his gifts as the Holy Spirit intended.
- Introduce your disciple to biographies of men and women of God who can serve as a role model for your disciple. Whether your disciple is a business woman or is preparing to be a missionary in India, there are lives through biographies that can serve as their guide. Biographies are especially helpful when a disciple is not like the discipler in gifting, or passions. Together you and your disciple can embark on a journey to find a role model for them, either living or through a biography.
- Expose your disciple to theological works, especially for those who are teachers and have an inquisitive mind. It is important not to give up until you and your disciple find a match to help with his intellectual questions. An author who worked for you may not relate to your disciple. Join your disciple in the pursuit of heart and mind that helps your disciple find answers and channels their mental energy.
- Set up a meeting with between your disciple and other disciples who have similar experiences or gifting. As a discipler, it is important to remain humble as there will be others who may be a better help for your disciple than you can be.
This process may take time and some experimentation to find which people and writers will be a fit with your disciple.
Excellent! I liked point 5 especially. I have found that humility is crucial in discipleship (among other things). If you are not humble as a disciple maker then you risk twisting the relationship into a means of manipulation and control. This, of course, makes you a barrier to your disciple’s relationship with Christ. As we have freely received may we freely give.