Many people sell themselves short in the discipleship arena. They will cite their personality drawbacks, their past mistakes, their age, or a stage of life they are in as justifications to not disciple. Let’s look closer at a couple of these hesitations toward discipleship to understand why they are truly unwarranted.
Hesitation #1: I am not outgoing
Perhaps you think that to disciple others, you need to have an outgoing personality. You feel you need to possess an alarming degree of charisma and exude a high level of people skills. You think of others who would be a much better fit for this responsibility. Sadly, when you examine your own qualities, you figure you drew the short straw.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. Everybody has a seat around the discipleship table. Every personality type is needed to be a discipler, because every personality type needs to be discipled! God is not looking to your outward personality to see if you can disciple others. He looks at your heart.
In First Samuel, God told Samuel to go and anoint the new king of Israel from the House of Jesse in Bethlehem. Samuel looked at one of Jesse’s sons, Eliab, and thought, “Surely this is the new King,” but the Lord said to Samuel:
“Do not consider his appearance or his height … The Lord does not look at the things a man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance but the Lord looks at the heart.” -1 Samuel 16:7
Take time to thank God for your personality. There are people who need to be discipled by you just the way you are. God would not exclude an entire group of the human race, based on their personality, out of the joy and command to make disciples of all nations.
Hesitation #2: I’ve made too many mistakes
Some believe that they have made too many past mistakes to disciple others. Your poor choices in the past are not what defines you. People with regrets can often empathize, show grace and deliver compassion in a much deeper way, since they too have ‘been there.’ I personally find that the more open I am with sin, habits and past regrets, the more my disciple is able to share openly about her past and present struggles. That transparency is exactly what is needed for growth in Christ.
No one is looking for perfection here. We all have regrets. What matters is lordship of Jesus in your life now, and maintaining forward movement into a deeper walk with God. I love what the Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 3:12-14;
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
Being a discipler is about pressing forward. Let God use your past mistakes as lessons that you can pass on to others. Help them by teaching them to avoid the same pitfalls.
Don’t sell yourself short when it comes to discipleship. Take your eyes off of your personality, off of your past mistakes and off of any other excuse you can come up with. Instead, fix your eyes on Christ. He has people for you to invest in who need your exact personality, mistakes and all, to love them and walk with them toward growth in Christ!
P.S. Once you connect with a person to disciple, download the free The Discipleship Starter Kit on my website!