In perhaps the most beautiful and clear passage on love the world has ever known, the Apostle Paul writes…
Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. (1 Corinthians 13:8)
There it is, clear as crystal. If we want to invest our time doing something as a follower of Christ that will last throughout eternity, we should focus on love. Obviously, the great commission of Christ tells us to also engage in this important work…
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19–20)
So, if our mission is making disciples, then our motive is love.
It’s one thing to just attempt to love the people we are teaching to follow Jesus but how to we apply it? Here are 7 practical ways to show love to those we are discipling or hope to disciple…
- Pray hard and regularly for them. Set reminders on your phone/calendar, use apps like Echo and others to remind you to pray for those you are walking with in their journey to know Christ. Ask them regularly how you can pray and then… do it! Resist the temptation to ask them for a prayer request and then consider all the ways YOU can meet that request. The most loving thing you can do for someone is intercede on their behalf and ask for God’s help!
- Listen carefully and intentionally to them. We have lost the art of listening. When I was in college, I took a class in “listening,” under our communication dept. That’s right, a huge part of communicating is actually just listening. You will be surprised how loved someone will feel when you just ask them questions and allow them to talk and process.
- Encourage them thoughtfully and consistently. Make yourself stop and think about what would build up the person’s faith in God? What’s something they need to hear that will keep them following after Jesus? Send it to them in a text, call them for no reason other than to tell it to them, send a letter via snail mail, shoot them an email, etc. However, the most powerful tool may be sitting down in front of them, looking them in the eyes and speaking life and courage into them.
- Help them sacrificially and open-handedly. Graciously give to them your time, treasure and talents without expecting anything in return. This may include helping them with a project you have the skills to accomplish, giving them money to cover an unexpected cost or showing up early on a Saturday to help them move.
- Invite them to do something fun with you. This is a great opportunity to get the person you’re discipling around other followers of Christ to encourage them when you invite them to do fun things with other Christians. Also, just take them on experiences with you (go see a movie, go hiking or to the gym, go shopping, etc.)
- Give them a gift with no strings attached that will bless them. Don’t just give them your old furniture you are throwing out to upgrade to new. Buy them something. Send them a gift card, buy their lunch, send them flowers, when you see something at the store that reminds you of them, get it for them.
- Truly get to know their relationship with God. Ask them what their spiritual story is. Find out what they know and don’t know about The Gospel. Ask them about their dreams and where God fits in. Find out where they stand in the most important thing they could consider.
What else can you think of? Anyways someone discipling you has loved you well? Comment below and let us know!