Sometimes our spiritual life can seem confusing or frustrating. We’re disciples of Jesus but we don’t really know what a disciple should look like. Over the years I’ve found these three words a good starting point – know, grow, go.
As disciples of Jesus we should know God better, grow in Christ and go and make disciples.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these:
1: Know God Better
Knowing God better is based on the prayer of Paul in Ephesians 1:17: ‘I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better’.
To know God better means we want to know God as ‘Trinity’, for the only way to know the true God is to know him as Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We want to know the Triune God as much as possible in all that we do, and worship God as Trinity. To do this well we should seek to know God in three interrelated ways:
Know God relationally – As children who know God as ‘Father’ and as servants who know Jesus as ‘Lord’. We don’t want to know God just intellectually or abstractly – we want to know God relationally. And we do that by ‘the Spirit of wisdom and revelation’ and through prayer as we open up his Word together.
Know God affectionately – This is implied when we pray to our ‘glorious’ Father. We want to know God with all our heart – with all our emotions, so we delight in Him and make Him the centre of our affections, loving Him and enjoying Him above all.
Know God deeply – That is – we want to dig deeper and ‘know God better’ through his Word, so we can know God as ‘Trinity’ in a richer and more personal and loving way.
2: Grow in Christ
Once we know God relationally, affectionately and deeply, then we will grow in Christ. There are many passages in the NT we could turn to, but Colossians 3 is a helpful start. Give it a read here, before continuing.
As we set our minds on Him, we seek to love like Christ and live like Christ. The vertical has horizontal results:
Our desire will be to become more like Christ in our walk with Him, seeking to put off sin and put on Christ-like clothes bound together by love (3:1-14). Growth in Christ looks like hating sin and growing in ‘compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience’ (3:12), whilst forgiving and loving one another (v13-14). This will make us more thankful to our Father and worshipful through the Spirit (v15-17). Our growth in Christ will also have implications in the family (v18-21) and at work (v22-25).
Growing in Christ is a life-long pursuit, it takes discipline, and a reliance on the Holy Spirit, delight in our Saviour, and resting in the arms of our loving Father, whilst being a part of his body – the church.
3: Go and Make Disciples
The natural consequences of knowing God better and growing in Christ will lead us to ‘go’. The famous last few verses of Matthew (28:18-20), dubbed ‘the Great Commission’, are foundational to the mission of the church. As Christians we have been commanded to ‘go’!
For our purposes, let’s break down v19: ‘Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’:
Go – We have to be outward going – we have to go to the people in our town and county and not expect them to come to us – rather we go to them and tell them about the gospel of King Jesus. So we proclaim Jesus (evangelism) and also defend Jesus (apologetics) in order for people to turn and trust in Jesus, believing in Him as their Saviour and Lord.
And Make Disciples – We want to make believers of Jesus into life-long, loving-learners and faithful-followers of the Triune God. We don’t make new converts – God does that when we ‘go’ and faithfully proclaim the gospel. Our job is to make disciples. So we need to proclaim the gospel and teach the Bible to one another – teaching everything Jesus commanded (v20).
Of all nations – We want our focus to be on Dewsbury and Yorkshire, but we also want DEC to be thinking beyond Yorkshire and England to ‘all nations’. We don’t just want to be supporting existing missionaries but creating new ones!
Baptising them – We baptise new disciples into the Triune name of God. From the beginning, the Christian life is Trinitarian in shape.
The Christian Life on Repeat
There is a circular shape to the Christian life, as the diagram above shows – it’s a life where as disciples of Jesus we know, grow and go. And keep on doing so! It’s the Christian life on repeat. One where the Spirit-empowering transformation helps us know God better, Grow in Christ and Go and Make Disciples… and not stop.