Love and Making Disciples

Early in my life Ann Morrow Lindberg (Mrs. Charles Lindberg) gave words to my own discipleship experience.

“To be deeply in love is, of course, a great liberating force and the most common experience that frees…The sheer fact of finding myself loved was unbelievable and changed my world, my feelings about life and myself. I was given confidence, strength, and almost a new character. The man I was to marry believed in me and what I could do, and consequently I found I could do more than I realized.” [1]

Evangelicalism is obsessed with teaching techniques, programs, and curriculum in disciple making. We place our hope in some new program with a creative curriculum believing it will release a flood of disciple making. There is only one way and there will always only be one way to make disciples and that is to love.

Jesus sums up disciple making in a word – love. Jesus and his relationship with the twelve during their early years are recorded in the books of Matthew, Mark and Luke. John’s gospel spends little time on these years but devotes six chapters on Jesus’ last hours with his men. Judas the betrayer is out of the room. Jesus gathers the eleven together and says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13: 34). Later in the evening he adds: “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. So remain in my love” (John 15:9). The Father loves Jesus, Jesus loves the disciples, and in the same form of love the disciples were to love fellow disciples.

All are created in the image of God. God is love. Jesus is God. To be a follower of Jesus is to love. Proverb 19:22 says “What a man desires is unfailing love.” To understand my behavior I recognize my need to be love and to love. A person is only spiritually complete when he receives loves and gives love. Discipleship at its core is demonstrating to another how to love and be loved.

[1] Hour of Gold, Hour of Lead: Diaries and Letters of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, 1929-1932”, (Wilmington: Mariner Books, 1993), Introduction.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *