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I’ve read this verse a thousand times. I’ve written about it. I’ve taught on it. But today as I was reading the final days of Christ’s life on earth I was hit by a new truth. Okay, new only in the sense of perspective.

Jesus promises to be with us. ALWAYS.

  • With us when we are under attack;
  • With us when we struggle with finances;
  • With us when illness attacks our bodies or the bodies of loved ones;
  • With us when we struggle with addictions;
  • With us in through divorce;
  • With us when we did that sin…again:
  • With us when we feel lonely and rejected;
  • With us in the storms of life;
  • Add your struggle here…

The thing is, this phrase is stuck at the end of what is commonly called the Great Commission but it’s truth goes far beyond evangelism. It’s a lifestyle. He doesn’t promise to remove the hard times. He does promise to walk with us along the way.

What’s your struggle today. Jesus is with you whether you feel him or not.

Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20 (NLT)

We used to play a game when I was growing up. It was like ‘follow the leader’ but with a twist. One person would be blindfolded and spun around in a circle a few times. Then, another person would lead that person on a walk. The object was to guess where you were going or, once stopped, where you had been led.

While the game was a simple on in some respects, it taught us all a lesson in trust and wisdom. Trust came from the person being led. That person had to rely completely on the leadership of the person who held his/her hand, knowing they would never be led into an area of danger.

The game required wisdom on the part of the person leading. The leader would have to go slowly so that the one following wouldn’t smash into hidden obstacles or trip on obstructions or fall down (or up) stairs. If the follower was injured or hurt in any way, the trust the leader hoped to establish would be gone and hard to re-establish.

Jesus final command to those who would follow him was to make disciples. Matthew challenges us with it in his book, Luke reinforces it in Acts. Our purpose here on earth as Christ followers, is to share the good news of Jesus Christ.

Making converts is easy. Give them a shot of the gospel, get them to make a decision and move on. Don’t forget to add a star to your evangelist hat. But making converts is like delivering a baby and leaving it in the nursery to fend for itself. Not likely to have good results.

Making disciples, on the other hand is hard work. It takes time to pour your life into someone else. It requires strength on your part, and wisdom gained from your own growth experiences. Making disciples can also be discouraging because we may see little or no progress and sometimes time and circumstances work against us and the person being discipled leaves. Even so, making disciples is the focus of our ‘Great Commission’. We aren’t called to ‘go’. We aren’t called to baptize. We are called to teach and make disciples.

Many people shy away from ‘discipleship’ because they feel inadequate, unqualified or feel they need to ‘grow themselves’ before they can help others. But making disciples should be a much like the modified game of follow the leader we played.

Jesus promised to lead us. He promised to take us into uncharted areas, to endure pain and rejection, to stumble at times or even fall occasionally. In his wisdom he’ll take us slowly, but will offer little information on where we are going or what will happen next. The only thing he offers us is a promise. A promise that wherever we go, whatever happens in our lives, whatever circumstances we find ourselves in, he will have our hand. His intent isn’t to injure or make a fool out of us. His intent is to help us grow stronger.

Making a disciple doesn’t follow a program or require a college degree. It is simply holding on to Jesus with one hand and holding on to someone else with the other. It’s sharing your life lessons of the heart with those who need to be comforted with the comfort you have received from the Lord.

Pour yourself into someone else. Both of you will be blessed. Don’t be afraid of where that may lead you. By holding Jesus’ hand you have nothing to fear. He’s a compassionate, trusted leader.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, you called us to make disciples and I must admit the idea of me being a ‘discipler’ is scary. I feel inadequate for the task. Yet this is your calling for me. Give me the courage to hold your hand and take someone else with me on the journey. Amen.

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