Last week, I covered the first lie we believe about making disciples: The Perfection Myth. This week, I want to cover the next lie I’ve come across in my own life and in the lives as others. It’s another excuse/reason we give for why we can’t disciple/mentor someone.
Before that though, I should talk about the resistance to the word discipleship and the phrase making disciples. For some reason, when we hear that word/phrase, it strikes panic in our minds and heart. It’s one of those words that we have so over-mystified that even the mention of the word gets our heart racing. Why is that? The main reason is simple misunderstanding. We just don’t know what it means. Secondary reasons are misuses of the word. Often times, when I talk to pastors, there is no clear definition of what it means to make disciples, yet we talk about it all the time. We probably shouldn’t overuse a word we don’t understand.
Back to today’s myth:
The easy myth: We think that when something doesn’t come naturally or easily, that must not be our thing.
This, by the way, doesn’t only apply to making disciples. But, we definitely use this as an excuse.
For some reason we have believed that lie that we should only ever do things that come naturally to us. If something is difficult for me to figure out, pick up, learn or master, then I’m probably not supposed to do that thing.
The truth is: We learn best when things don’t come naturally.
Sure, as a general principle, I understand the idea of focusing on your strengths. And, I would agree that there are some times in our lives when we should do that. But, focusing on your strengths is not really an either/or paradigm. I think we would all agree (well, maybe not…) that if being a good spouse isn’t one of your strengths you should still work at it. If it doesn’t come natural, you should work at it.
We forget that struggle is a key component to change. In fact, it is through the struggle that we change. If fact, walking with others through the struggle of changing from who they were before Christ to who they are becoming in Christ is the work of discipleship.
Talk about lies we have believed as a society. We MUST get over the false notion that we should only do things that come easy or naturally.
Hear me: until it becomes second nature, there is nothing natural about following Jesus. Our nature apart from Christ is actually opposed to Christ. Our nature before Christ is for ourselves. And that’s exactly the point of Christianity: “Anyone who would come after me must deny themselves, take up their cross and follow me.” What part of that sounds easy? What part of that sounds like something some people are built to do?
The truth about making disciples is that it will never be easy. Why? Because it involves people. Specifically other people. People who are not us. It is NEVER easy to lead someone to die to themselves who has spent their whole life living only for themselves.
The point isn’t that it’s easy. If it was easy, everyone would be fully discipled. The reason we don’t know how to make disciples and be disciples is because it’s challenging.
So, our only legitimate option is to embrace the difficulty
There are studies that actually show that we are less likely to learn something well when it comes easy. Conversely, we are more likely to learn something thoroughly when it’s difficult to learn.
So, the sooner we embrace the challenge, the sooner we will begin to advance in our pursuit of making disciples. The sooner we stop believing the lie that we shouldn’t do things that don’t come naturally, the sooner we will be able to help others become more like Christ.
Oh, and we’ll become more like Christ in the process. As we walk through struggles with others; as we, like Paul said, “carry one another’s burdens,” the transformation doesn’t just take place in the disciple but also in the mentor.
How has the easy myth kept you from making disciples?