The Importance of Discipleship and Why It Matters
Discipleship is a crucial part of the Christian walk. Not only are we called to be discipled by the Holy Spirit; we are called to disciple and be discipled by the body of Christ. So what does discipleship mean anyways? In the Christian sense, discipleship is just a word for the process of becoming like Christ. Our aim as Christians should be to mirror Jesus in every aspect of our lives.
In John 8 verses 31 through 32, Jesus says, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” We must press into discipleship so that we are truly holding to the teachings of Jesus and through living out His teachings, we will be set free. Furthermore, in Matthew 28 verse 19, Jesus commands us to, “go and make disciples of all nations.” This statement is monumental for the kingdom of God and makes it clear that it is impossible to be a true follower of Jesus outside of discipleship.
Why discipleship matters
It can be tempting to do life alone, but this was never God’s intention for the church. We are a body! Each church member is necessary and needed for us to function properly. The Lord often speaks to us through other believers and we hurt ourselves by not actively being a part of the community He designed for us. Whether it’s a word of encouragement or a loving correction, allowing others to speak into our lives is life-giving. Being discipled by other believers requires humility and vulnerability, but the reward always outweighs the cost.
One huge aspect of leaning into the vulnerability of discipleship is accountability. As the Holy Spirit takes us from glory to glory, it is our job to do the practical work of putting off all of the things that hinder us. This is always easier said than done. Having someone we trust walking alongside us is crucial to walking in freedom in every area of our lives. In James 5 verse
16 the Bible says, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” Discipleship and vulnerability not only bring healing, but they silence the lies of the enemy. It is so easy to be suffocated by the shame and weight of sins we can’t seem to escape, and accountability helps us walk in the reality of the freedom Jesus has won for us.
Growing in spiritual maturity is no accident. Being discipled by the Holy Spirit and by other believers is a life-long journey of being fashioned into who the Creator always intended for us to be. As the Holy Spirit continues to refine us, we have the choice to lean in or reject His leadership. Whether it’s in our thought life, our worldview, or the way we love those around us, the work of sanctification is never complete. As followers of Jesus, it is important that we are aware of the areas where we aren’t completely aligned with Him and be willing to allow Him and others to help us along the journey. A decision to lean in will always lead to more freedom and growing intimacy with the Lover of our souls.
Discipleship In YWAM
YWAM focuses heavily on discipleship and the call to make disciples of all nations. Though every YWAM location differs in its specific ministries, we are united in our value for discipleship. During a discipleship training school (DTS) at YWAM Asheville, you have access to a community committed to pushing you towards Jesus and a one-on-one mentor to help you process and walk through the deeper topics brought up during school. The curriculum of DTS is full of topics devoted to shaping you into the image of Jesus with everything from identity to Lordship. We believe in honoring the Lord while honoring individuals and refuse to separate truth from love. You can expect to find a community of individuals who will see you and love you as Jesus does to the best of our ability.
Discipleship takes commitment but is absolutely necessary to become more and more like our Savior. It is not only an invitation into all the Lord has for us, but a commandment to become as He is. As we lean into the beauty of the refining process, we will find life and freedom. Discipleship invites us into a community of believers, a safe place to be vulnerable and receive accountability, and an increasing intimacy with the Holy Spirit. The Lord is faithful to complete the work He has started in each of us, but He is never forceful. May we choose discipleship in every season and trust that His ways are higher than our own for it is for freedom that He has set us free.