We Can’t Be In a Hurry with People

Helping people grow as disciples is not an overnight or fast process. It takes time and is filled with ups and downs.  But, we must not be in a hurry or try to take shortcuts when making disciples.  Speed and efficiency are not luxuries that disciple making get to enjoy

When we look into the relationship between Jesus and his disciples we see this reality. In John 13-16 we have a record of the final long conversation between the disciples and Jesus  before He is arrested and crucified.  Jesus is telling them that He is leaving to be with the Father to prepare a place for them. In the middle of the conversation Phillip says, “Lord, show us the Father and it is enough for us.”  I love Jesus’ reply, “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

I can almost hear the frustration in Jesus’ voice. “Are you kidding me?  Over three years together and you still don’t get it?  But, even in that moment, Jesus doesn’t give up. He continues to encourage them, offer them grace, challenge them, and believe in them.  Jesus never gave up on the disciples even though they gave Him plenty of reasons to do so. We should follow His example.

We have to be comfortable with this reality.  You cannot be in a hurry in discipleship. 

In order for us to be ok with the long term journey of discipleship, there are a few things we need to consider.

  1. We need to commit to loving people in all of their imperfections even when we can’t fully relate to their experience. 

Everyone’s journey is unique.  Everyone has unique struggles and experiences. This means that there will be times when we do not fully understand what they are going through but we must find ways to love them anyway.

  1. We should never give up believing in the possibility of God for people even if we think they should have it figured out.

Everyone’s spiritual timetable is different.  We have to embrace the fact that God works in different ways and at different speeds in everyone. We have to stay committed to what God is doing in people, even when we think He should be working faster.

  1. We need to learn the balance of speaking truth while at the same time offering practical grace. 

There will be times when we speak hard truth but we have to follow the example of Jesus by offering patience and grace. People need to know that even though they make mistakes you will not give up on them. 

  1. We have to remove ourselves from the position “fixing” people and into the position of helping people discern the work of God.

We do not fix people or change people’s hearts.  That is the work of the Holy Spirit. What we can do is stay close enough to people to help them see how their life and the life God has for them need to be aligned. 

  1. We have to be willing to get into the struggles and messes of other people’s lives and stay there with them as God works. 

Galatians 6:2 tells us to “bear one another’s burdens.” We can’t bear one another’s burdens unless we are willing to become intimately acquainted with the person and the burden. It is not enough to hope they make it through. If we are going to love well, then we must find ways to get involved.

May we all slow down and take the long walk with Jesus together.

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