Discipleship is not just about a discipler discipling a disciple. In this section, we will be learning the role of God in discipleship process.
God works from the planning, starting, and all throughout the discipleship process. Not only that He uses the discipler to carry out the work of making disciples, He himself is engage within the process of discipleship.
God cuts off every branch that bears no fruit, while prunes those who bears fruit so that it will bear more fruit all the more.
John 15:1-2 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
God takes care of the vine. Jesus compared himself to a vine. We are the branches. We are connected to Jesus Christ. But as the Father takes care of the vine, he carefully checks the vine and its branches. Dead branches and those branches that don’t have a fruit are cut off. Similarly to a literal vine, branches that do not bear fruit become a competition for the nutrients of the vine. Therefore it has to be cut off to enhance the ability of branches that bears fruit.
Branches that bear fruit are pruned to bear more fruit. This is probably why bearing fruit is sometimes difficult and painful. Nonetheless, the pruning that God does is not for our disadvantage, but for our advantage.
God works for the good of those who love him who have been called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28-29 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
God works for the good of those who love him. “God is good all the time, all the time God is good”, this is usually the expression that we use when we experience the goodness of God. In relation to discipleship, God works inside us who decided to follow Him. He works not according to what we do or what we accomplish, but he works according to his purpose.
Obedience to God is not all about us, it is all about God. Being his disciple is not reflecting and shining our own image to the world but the image of Christ. It is not us to be seen by the world but Christ. We have been called according to His purpose.
God transforms us and reflect his image.
2 Corinthians 3:18 And we all, with unveiled faces reflecting the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another, which is from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
We reflect the glory of the Lord to the world. We are transformed (Gk. metamorphoo) into the same image from one degree of glory to another. Reflection and transformation is made possible by the Holy Spirit who is at work within us. This tells us that genuine change is only possible when the Holy Spirit works in the heart of Christ’s disciple.
God will carry the good work in us into completion.
Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ
With confidence, Paul declared that He who begun a good work in us will complete in until the day of Jesus Christ. Discipleship coming from the root word discipline, takes time. It is not an overnight process. It is not achieved in a short period of time. Nonetheless, it is not just a personal effort that we put it into completion, but it is with the help of God.
God works in us to will and to act according to his good purpose.
Philippians 2: 13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
In support of the previous passage, God works both in our desire and effort to his good pleasure. It is Him who gives us the conviction to do the right thing to do. As we put to action to that will to do, God continuously work and guides his people to exactly do what is supposed to do. As what our previous passage says, He puts it into completion.