Guarding Our Hearts as We Make Disciples


I have had the privilege of being able to walk alongside a lot of people over the years to help them grow as disciples of Jesus.  I have been able to see, first hand, God change many people’s lives, which is amazing. It really is a privilege that I do not deserve and do not take likely. 

One of the lessons I have learned in nearly 25 years of investing in people is that I am not even close to being perfect at it.  I am still learning and growing. If I do not intentionally guard my heart, I can lose sight of what God is allowing me to do. When my heart is not guarded, I am more likely to give bad advice.  I become more selfish. I let people down. When my heart is not guarded, I too easily miss God and do not love well. 

I know this for certain, anything that has gone “well” is all because of God and not me.

Here is one of the ways I know that my heart is not guarded as I make disciples.

I Treat People as “Mine” and not “God’s”

The Apostle Peter reminds us of the right perspective to have of people when he wrote, “Shepherd the flock of God…(1 Peter 5:2)”  T

Those that we disciple belong to God.

 It is easy over time to lose sight of this and slowly begin to view them as “ours” or “mine”. I am currently in a new season of ministry where God has brought some amazing, new people into my life. I really do love them and want God’s best for them. But, I have to be careful.  None of these people are “mine”.  They are God’s.  My role is simply to see them and love them as God’s children.

When the perspective of “mine” begins to work into the way we view those we are investing, then we are taking steps towards manipulation. When we manipulate we end up stunting their growth in Christ. When we manipulate, we are no longer loving.

This can be harmful to those we disciple because it limits their potential. When I disciple as “mine” I limit their potential to “me”. God’s vision for someone is always much greater and better than what I can come up with. If I give in to the temptation of seeing people as “mine” then I can become a barrier to them knowing and experiencing God’s best for them. I don’t want to be that guy.

Here are some practical thoughts that have helped me overcome the “mine” perspective of people.

1. Disciple in the context of community. This sets the stage for disciple making to be a “family” effort, allowing people to have multiple trusted influences in their life. 

2. Regularly pray for humility as a disciple. It is easy for my pride and opinion of self to get so high that I think I am all that the person needs. I need to daily surrender my heart and relationships to Christ.

3. Get Help. When the person I am discipling is walking through something that I do not know much about or can’t adequately relate to, I try to point them towards someone who is more equipped for that situation. None of us have all the answers and should never act like we do. 

The key is to remember that the people in your life are an undeserved gift.  They were loved and formed by God before the foundation of the world, and we are given a holy privilege to know them and love them. 

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