One of the first things to do as a discipler is to stabilize your disciple. When someone is insecure because of rejection, loneliness, shame, or detachment, not only does his mind not think clearly, he can be irrational. (A simple illustration of this was your inability to concentrate for a test or to make good choices after your college girlfriend broke up with you.) What brings an inner steadiness to your disciple is an understanding of God’s love. Paul writes of this stability in Ephesians 4 “…being rooted and established in love…” Later Paul connects love and right thinking in Philippians: “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ…” (This is not a quick process and usually takes months.)
I begin the relationship by asking my disciple to share his story so that I can listen for the points of suffering, rejection, voids, hurt, and disappointments in his life. His life stories give me insight into his inner man and God’s approach in his life. It is at these points of suffering that I introduce him to the sovereignty of God. The sovereignty of God is made of up of three strands:
- God’s Power- God’s power means God is able to do anything that is in harmony with His wise and holy and perfect nature.
- God’s Wisdom- God’s wisdom means that God always chooses the best purpose and the best means to that purpose.
- God’s Love- God’s love means that God eternally gives of Himself to others. (This definition understands love as self-giving for the benefit of others.)
Stories are powerful conveyers of truth. I refer to the life stories of biblical characters to illustrate the Lord’s sovereignty in the life of his children. (e.g. Joseph, Moses, Ruth, Esther, David, Daniel, Elizabeth, Mary, etc.) Disciples relate differently to different biblical characters, so we explore the various characters until we find one that resonates with him.