Today and well, all day yesterday, I have been feeling down, rather stuck in the mud. Have you ever had those days when you just cannot function and drag your feet so much that nothing gets done? Then after all the dragging, you feel no better because you know you can do better. One thing ends up complicating the other, right?
Today, I decided that things had to be absolutely different. When I decided to make this day different, I began designing my own personal encouragement printable to help draw out my feelings, apply God's word to the situation, and help me to focus outward and upward instead of inward and downward. My printable is almost complete, but as I was seeking out verses and resources for encouragement, inspiration, and motivation I kept seeing resources prepared by the newest professional that helps people get unstuck, the "life coach."
While I understand that many Christians have chosen to life coach as a means to help others to improve their lives by intentional planning, time management, and goal setting, I realized that the fully secular version of life coaching, while positive, is not at all what God has planned for our lives. Let me give you a run down of the differences between Life Coaching (our plan) and Discipleship (God's plan).
Life Coaching VS Discipleship
Life coaching is all about my happiness. Discipleship is all about receiving God's gift of joy.
Life coaching is all about getting what I want. Discipleship is all about seeking what God wants.
Life coaching is all about looking inward. Discipleship is all about looking upward.
Life coaching is all about self-improvement. Discipleship is all about relationships.
Life coaching is all about me. Discipleship is all about God.
Personally, I'm thinking that God's version sounds even more awesome than the secular version. I want discipleship not just a coach. I want a relationship with God and a mentor, not just a business relationship with someone who is making money off of me. I need God's peace, joy, and purpose for my life and no amount of looking inward is going to do that for me.
If this sounds good to you as well, it's no wonder! Discipleship is God's plan. What always amazes me is how many times the words "one another" is used in the Bible. God doesn't intend for us to be alone in our Christian walk. Check this out:
94 Verses in the Bible use the Greek word ἀλλήλων which means "one another."
According to Intervarsity.org at least 55 verses relate to the love "each another," forgive "one another," etc. in the Bible
Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV 84)
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV 84)
4 Ways to Seek Discipleship
1. Find a Local Church
- Ask a friend whom you trust
- Look for a living church not just a busy church
- Put down roots and commit to this community
- Seek to be built up but also seek to build up this community
2. Find a Small Group
- Ask a person in your new church
- Look for people who authentically follow God not just Bible enthusiasts
- Commit to developing relationships where God can teach you and can use you
- Be discipled and disciple others as God leads you
3. Find a Mentor
- Seek out a person who can disciple you in being a disciple of Christ
- Look for the fruits of the Spirit in this person's life: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control
- Look for the gifts of the Spirit in this person's life: Administration, Apostleship, Discernment (Distinguishing between spirits), Exhortation, Evangelism, Faith, Giving, Healing, Helping, Interpretation of Tongues, Message of Knowledge, Leadership, Miracles and Power, Shepherds (often guides a local church body), Prophecy, Teaching, Speaking in Tongues, Serving (active ministry to others), Showing Mercy, Message of Wisdom
- Do not seek a perfect person, you won't find them!
- Finally, look for a person who is also teachable. God has things to teach them through your life as well.
4. Seek First His Kingdom and Righteousness
- Read Matthew 6:25-33 and remember that you can find the right church, the right small group, and the right mentor and still be forgetting to pursue God first and foremost.
- Give God the first fruits of your time, money, and life (aka the best)
- Make God the most important relationship in your life
- Ask God for the fruits of the Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit
- Surrender your life to pursuing God
Bless and Be Blessed