Making The Most of Every Opportunity
As opportunity provides, I must be willing to seek out and meet with others on a consistent basis, guiding them in ways to be a disciple maker. "And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also" (2 Timothy 2:2).
The "Model" concept in the Bible is clearly seen in Paul’s opening lines to the Thessalonians, "And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost" (1 Thessalonians 1:6). It is required of all believers and especially disciple-makers to be... "in all things showing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine showing incorruptness, gravity, sincerity" (Titus 2:7). The role of disciple-making is clearly seen throughout the apostolic writings in Holy Writ. Throughout these writings from the early church leaders, we have constant reminders of how one person was to be the example to those who were following afterwards. "Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation [behavior]" (Hebrews 13:7). "Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me" (1 Corinthians 4:16), and then again later in the same epistle, Paul tells these believers to, "Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ" (1 Corinthians 11:1). This call of exemplary life was echoed by Peter in his first epistle; "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps" (1 Peter 2:21). John in both his gospel and epistle writes, "For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you" (John 13:15); "He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked" (1 John 2:6).
You cannot and will not maintain a solid Christian walk without the daily assistance and dependence on the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Himself gives an illustration of consistency or persistence in prayer beginning in Luke 18:1 as He stated, "...that men ought always to pray, and not to faint." "Prayer will make a person cease from sin, or sin will entice a person to cease from prayer." “The word ‘Prayer’ expresses the largest and most comprehensive approach unto God. It gives prominence to the element of devotion. It is communion and intercourse with God. It is enjoyment of God. It is access to God.
The Bible, the Word of God is found in "word", "reading" and "doctrine" in the following... "be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity" (1 Timothy 4:12); giving "attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine" (1 Timothy 4:13). Consistency is discovered as we are encouraged to… “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself and them that hear thee” (1 Timothy 4:16). For the disciple-maker to be pouring their life into that of another requires stability in God’s Word. Stability happens when the disciple-maker is immersed in God’s Word, 24/7. Immersed in God’s Word applies to both time with Jesus, prayer, and reading of Holy Writ on a daily basis.
Jumping from one fishbowl to another does several things to the individual fish. Lack of oxygen from the water is top of the list. The variances in in water quality and temperature is another. When purchased they are often purchased and placed in a fishbowl all by themselves. “Goldfish are some of the most common pets in American homes, but the majority of people know extraordinarily little about them. For example, many people assume they are happy on their own, but that’s not how it is. Goldfish get lonely and can get depressed as a result”. Just as the Creator intended for goldfish to be together so he intended for the believer to be with likeminded people. Philippians 1:27 continues with this principle saying, "...stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel..." standing fast [consistently] striving together [in fellowship] for the gospel. These passages give strong indication of maintaining a reliable and steady relationship with other believers. The disciple-maker along with every other believer should exemplify this fellowship attitude to Walk-n-Talk not only with Jesus. They need to Walk-n-Talk with likeminded people! "The physical presence of other Christians is a source of incomparable joy and strength to the believer."
Running the Race
“Now as to the love of the brethren, you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; for indeed you do practice it toward all the brethren who are in Macedonia. But we urge you brethren, to excel still more (1 Thessalonians 4:9-10, NASB). To excel at any sport, trade, job, endeavor requires the mentality that even at the top of my “game” there is still more to learn. Paul put parameters on this for the Corinthian church by showing them that to be zealous for spiritual gifts is not the end game. Consistency should be furthered in “seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church (1 Corinthians 14:12). John Wesley follows up on Paul’s parameter with these excellent words, “Do all the good you can by all the means you can in all the places you can at all the times you can to all the people you can as long as ever you can." Here is a list of words that are synonyms of consistency - Steadiness, Reliability, Dependability, and Trustworthiness. Everyone desires to have these attributes, especially if they were reflected on a job evaluation from our employer. How much more should we strive to attain such qualities for the furthering of the Gospel and to glorify our Lord Jesus Christ? "And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also" (2 Timothy 2:2). "The real test of a saint is not one's willingness to preach the gospel, but one's willingness to do something like washing the disciples' feet - that is, being willing to do those things that seem unimportant in human estimation but count as everything to God". (Oswald Chambers)