The Importance of Discipleship

In our ladies’ study group, we recently began reading Becoming a Titus 2 Woman, and that’s really where this post stems from. Today I was thinking about the difference between the words “mentor” and “disciple” and was curious if they were as synonymous as we use them in the Christian world. So, I turned to the good ‘ole Merriam-Webster dictionary and this is what I found:

Mentor a trusted counselor or guide

Disciple one who accepts and assists in spreading the doctrines of another

The more I mulled this over in my head, something I can say I’ve never thought of popped into my mind. ? Jesus didn’t tell us to be mentors, or make mentors. He told us to make disciples. We are to be more than just a guide. We accept a doctrine (the complete Word of God) and we assist in spreading that message. We don’t just point people in the right direction and say “Good luck!” We build relationships and walk with them, possible before they even accept what we believe. Now, I’m not saying walk around and be a Bible thumper, so don’t misunderstand what I’m saying here.

Let’s stay on track here: If you are a woman, and a true follower of Christ, we are given a mission in Titus 2. It’s a big deal, people. You are probably familiar with the passage but just in case, here it is:

But you are to proclaim things consistent with sound teaching. Older men are to be self-controlled, worthy of respect, sensible, and sound in faith, love, and endurance. In the same way, older women are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not slaves to excessive drinking. They are to teach what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands and to love their children, to be self-controlled, pure, workers at home, kind, and in submission to their husbands, so that God’s word will not be slandered.

Titus 2:1-5

Paul is writing to Titus, (thank you, Captain Obvious). In chapter 1, he warns of the sect of people who are “full of empty talk and deception.” (v.10) He says, “They are ruining entire households by teaching what they shouldn’t in order to get money dishonestly.” (v.11) Paul is urging Titus to teach that which is consistent with sound doctrine. Then comes the command. Do you notice is doesn’t say, “Women, if you feel like it, do these things.” No, instead we see discipleship in action here. We see that the older women are to disciple the younger women- they are to accept what Titus teaches and assist in teaching it to others. Why are we to do all of these things? “So that God’s word will not be slandered.” Let’s get back to the dictionary, shall we?

Slander the utterance of false charges or misrepresentations which defame and damage another’s reputation

Yikes. Slander is no joke. We fulfill the call of becoming a Titus 2 woman, and the discipling of the younger women to do the same, so that God’s Word will not be falsely charged or misrepresented which defames and so, damages HIS reputation. That sounds pretty serious to me.

I am 34 years old and can’t say I’ve ever been discipled in the way I now view discipleship. By God’s grace and mercy, I’ve been able to read the scriptures and with the Helper (the Holy Spirit) been convicted of my role as a woman following Christ. He has placed in me a desire to see women living in their roles according to God’s Word. My heart is for women to embrace Biblical womanhood and live it out. I mess up, and often. I don’t always get this thing right. But one thing I know: I wish I knew then, what I know now. Do you feel that way too? Then I encourage you to start praying and asking the Lord to show you who you can disciple.

Do you know why the Dead Sea is dead? Because water doesn’t have a way of flowing out of it. Stick with me here for this analogy. Especially if you are a mother, you often hear, “You can’t pour from an empty cup! Make sure you are full first!” Right?? What if instead of looking at ourselves as cups, we looked at ourselves as vessels. We have information coming in, specifically pertaining to our spiritual life. Well, what if we just sit with all of that until our ‘cup is full’? Is it possible that if we keep what we know to ourselves, with no out-flow, that we could become dead? What if we became a vessel? What if we had someone we could teach what we are learning to? Let’s not hoard our information, especially when it comes to discipling a younger woman. Don’t be a cup waiting to get filled and poured out and filled and poured out. Be a vessel so things flow through you and encourage others in your life.

I know. This all seems a little scary doesn’t it? You might feel like me and wonder:

“What exactly is this going to look like?”

“What’s the plan?”

“How do I do this?”

The truth is, I don’t have an answer for you right now. I’m still figuring it out, too. What I can tell you, is be brave and bold. Ask that young girl who is on your heart if you can disciple her. If she says no, don’t be offended. Thick skin, soft heart. If she says yes, teach her the ways of the Lord, what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8). Teach her what a Titus 2 woman is, how she behaves, what she believes, how she serves. Show her how to study her Bible, teach her how to pray, walk side by side with her and pour into her life. You can learn how to do this together. Because if we don’t teach them, who will? If we don’t share with them the truth of God’s word, they will believe the lies and deception of the world.

There’s one caveat: it’s hard to teach something you aren’t living. If I have learned anything about discipling others, it is that it has something in common with parenting. It’s not a “Do as I say, not as I do,” relationship. When you take someone under your wing and do life together, they are watching you. That doesn’t mean we have to be perfect or have it all together. The Lord knows if I felt that way, I’d never do anything! I am the first to admit I don’t have it all together.

If we are going to undertake this mission, we have to be willing to let the Word read us and show us ourselves. We have to be willing to be refined and sharpened. You may even consider asking an older woman to disciple you! We are all still learning. I don’t know it all, even if I think I do. 😉 It means we stay in the Word, we pray, we listen to what God is speaking, we obey His word, and we let Him use us. The importance of discipleship is no joke. Not only in sharing our faith, but helping those around us mature spiritually as we ourselves grow in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.