They say that a picture paints a thousand words. When I was younger, there was a commercial showing a small child being attacked by a dozen happy puppies. The sound of his laughter was pure joy! I still find myself smiling and laughing as I think of that little boy. Joy is defined as a fruit of the Spirit, bringing great pleasure and happiness. So what brings you joy and how does that relate to discipleship? We tend to think of discipleship as something we have to do, which doesn’t sound very joyful. If you sat a child in the middle of a room with nothing in it, I’m pretty sure you won’t hear much joy. Discipleship doesn’t happen in a room all by yourself. It happens with other people. It happens when you spread the teaching of Christ to those around you.
The question is: Can you do that? You can’t spread joy if you’re all by yourself. Neither can you do it if you aren’t a disciple first. The women of our church are doing a Bible study on the book of Philippians right now. You can definitely hear the sounds of joy and laughter as we meet each week. There is also excitement as we get into God’s Word and discover what He has to say and what it means in our lives. Paul wrote this letter to a church that he cared for very much. It is apparent as you look at his words of encouragement to them that he had built a relationship with them that didn’t stop because they were physically separated. Paul invested himself in this and other churches because he knew that’s what he was called to do, and he did it with joy!
Paul knew something that each of us as believers should know. He knew the Lord that he was sharing with others. While he was close to the people in Philippi, he was closer to God. The strength of his relationship came from spending time with the God of his salvation. He followed Jesus which led him to share with others his joy. Ephesians 2:10 tells us that “we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we could walk in them.” The more time we spend with God in His Word, the more we can understand what it means to be a disciple and why discipleship is so important. God chose us to spread His Word on Earth. His desire is that we walk with Him. A product of that relationship is sharing with others as we live our lives.
All of us have had the opportunity to teach something to someone in our lives, either as a teacher, parent, or friend. There is something very satisfying when you see the “lightbulb” go off as they finally understand what you’ve been trying to tell them. Each week, the ladies in our Bible study get so excited as they begin to understand the truth in Gods Word. With that understanding, comes change. With change, comes the desire to share with others the amazing truth from God. Paul was right, there is great joy in seeing others understand and grow in their relationship with God. This is discipleship in action!