Having considered the Ten Commandments, one of the things we note is that obedience does not come naturally for us. We need training in living a Christian life and then we need discipling as we seek to live it.
One of my friends, involved in a mission church, told me that they assign mentors to new believers, to show them how to live as Christians. At the time, I didn’t think much about it, however the longer I am a pastor, the more I realize how important being discipled is for every one of us as Christians (including pastors). This lesson was reinforced recently, we often expect people to know how to do things through observation when they have not been taught. Often the lesson doesn’t get learned or gets learned wrong. Training in how to do things in the Christian life is more important than it is in earthly things.
Pastors can preach about obedience to God’s commandments with the most endearing sermons, but if that preaching isn’t reinforced by discipling within the congregation showing how to do it, those beautiful lessons will never get beyond the church doors. A pastor can do some of this training, but he can’t do nearly what is necessary. Each one of us as Christians should be seeking godly training from others within God’s church and also, we must be ready to give of our time for the training of fellow Christians.
We do look to our pastors and to other officers God has set over us. Paul writes in I Corinthians 11:1, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.” Paul, as a teacher in God’s church, calls for the church to live as he lives in imitating Christ. Church Officers are not perfect. The standard is God’s perfection. Yet Church Officers ought to be those who are seeking to live lives that exemplify Christianity. We also need to look around us and seek others whose Christian walk is better than ours. (The fact that there are always others with a better Christian life than ours is not something that should offend us or cause us to envy, it is something to be thankful for…We need them!) We should seek to learn these peoples’ habits of godliness.
Through God’s word, especially the historical passages, we can learn from the lives of believers in Bible times. We can also be discipled by Christians distant in time or space by reading their writings. Being Discipled is something we must seek as Christians. It is part of our growth. As we struggle against sin in this troubled life, God gives us the blessing of our fellow believers to help show us the way.
Rev. James Grossmann
Salem Ebenezer Reformed Church, Manitowoc, WI