What happens when you get a group of women in a room to discuss life and the gospel?
Talking. Lots of talking. And questions. More questions than you can imagine. Why? Because we need each other, and sometimes life can be confusing and include insurmountable circumstances. During my time in settings like this, I’m reminded of the importance of discipleship.
Discipleship can take on many forms. It can be as simple as inviting someone into your kitchen for fellowship to organizing a normally scheduled lunch. However it looks, it involves honesty, seeking advice, and Scripture, and someone willing to do all of the above.
The Preacher in Ecclesiastes writes, “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!” (Ecclesiastes 4:9–10).
He is writing about the vanity of trying to work alone as a means to outdo another. But labors aren’t the only benefit of working together. Two are also better than one as we live out our faith in Christ. We really need each other, though we often try to go at it alone. We really need reproof and instruction, though we seldom seek it out. This is why discipleship is so important.
Here are three simple benefits of discipling relationships:
1. Discipleship builds humility.
Our temptation might be to think we know what is best for ourselves. As you’ve heard, and maybe said before, “we know ourselves better than anyone.” Scripture says that we might actually be more confused than we think. The heart is deceitful and so to trust yourself at all times is probably not the best route to take (Jeremiah 17:9). Wise counsel from a friend, pastor, or spouse could be just the thing God uses for our protection.
Proverbs says that a wise man will hear and learn, and will acquire wise counsel (Proverbs 1:5). So we can safely assume that an unwise man will not hear from others, will shut them down and will not listen, will lack understanding and will not acquire wise counsel. We need to resist the temptation to be wise in our own eyes (Proverbs 3:7). This isn’t so easy! But as we seek to gain understanding, we must first acknowledge that we don’t always know what is best.
2. Discipleship unites us with fellow believers.
The body of Christ isn’t meant to simply exist for us to gather together on Sundays and then move along with our lives the rest of the week. God’s word paints a picture of believers doing life together (Acts 2:44–47). Seeking counsel and discipleship is one way to invite others into your life.
Most of the time people won’t know the details of your life unless you are willing to share with them. Being willing to be discipled by another provides an opportunity for prayer and mutual encouragement (Galatians 6:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:11). We want to pursue one another because we are members of his body (Ephesians 5:30).
3. Discipleship equips us for faithfulness.
Paul tells us in Titus 2:3 that the older women in the church should teach what is good and train the younger women. They are to equip other women in how to walk in step with the truth of the gospel. And this isn’t a suggestion — it is God’s instruction for how we should relate to one another.
This is Discipleship 101. It’s yet another proof that we need each other. We can’t obey the commands in Titus 2 without being willing to be discipled (and being available and willing to disciple others!).