Jeremiah gives me this warning. In fact, he might have been saying that I should not be a disciple of this world.
Thus says the Lord: Learn not the way of the nations, nor be dismayed at the signs of the heavens because the nations are dismayed at them. – Jeremiah 10:2 ESV
Paul stated in Timothy what it means to disciple God’s way.
You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men,[a] who will be able to teach others also. – 2 Timothy 2:1-2 ESV
What does “entrust” actually mean? I think it means a relationship that has intentionality to it. It is not just a transfer of information but there is a loving appreciation of each other, spending time together where time is not only spent in being discipled but also real life.
They hung out together for the purpose of advancing the gospel and for the purpose of multiplication. Paul wanted Timothy to know what it looked like to disciple another. I mean, look at all the relationships in the short verse above – Paul, Timothy, faithful men, others also. I think this is how discipleship works – entrusting the gospel from disciple to disciple, generation after generation.
I am pretty sure there is no formula for discipleship. This chapter in 2 Timothy does give some key characteristics though.
Be strengthened: The Christian life is not easy and disciples need down-to-earth resilience. Not our personal strength but strength in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. It is important for me to remember where my strength comes from.
Able to teach: Down through history master craftsmen have taught apprentices, who then became master craftsmen who taught apprentices. If the chain of teaching had been broken, the craft would have been lost.
Be a soldier: How easy it is for me to think that there will only be blessings and happiness for me as I follow Jesus. With Jesus there was suffering and death. There is no easy road in following Him. I have to be tough.
Do not be entangled: It is pretty clear, obedience matters. There are no debates, distractions or compromises. As a follower of Jesus, I am expected to listen to only one voice – Jesus’.
Follow the rules: Why do I think I can live and walk with Jesus my own way? If I want the prize, I have to know God, His rules and then follow them.
Hard-working: This is the one who receives the first harvest and the largest portion. It involves having a sense that I must be dedicated to loving Jesus, learning about Him and serving Him as a disciple.
Think things over: I know it is not common to take down notes these days. Maybe the sermons are not making a difference. But there has to be some gems in there and if they are there, I need to reflect on them, see the truth and apply them to my life.