Joseph went from his home to a pit to slavery to a prison to a palace because of dreams. Do you feel like you are in the lowest pit of despair or heartache? Are you in a prison of fear or of an addiction? Don't stop dreaming, but be careful about who you share your dreams with. Not everyone has your best interests at heart. In due time, God will elevate you and allow you to function in your royal purpose. So trust the Lord and don't give up on your dreams. Surround yourself with people who love you and want to help you bring God glory. With God, you will make it to the palace!
Sometimes God will allow you to go through certain things and He shows you how your heart really is. It's during the struggle, during the test, during the hardship, that you find out who you really are and what you're made of. So... how's your heart?
When other people face problems or struggle with sin, if we are not careful, we can be quick to try to fix their circumstances or their behavior. But it is really a heart issue. We have got to help people dig deep under the surface and encourage them to seek the Lord Who graciously transforms hearts and lives. God calls us to help others. Sometimes helping people dealing with deep issues can be messy, but that's part of life. It's not always pretty, but it's always worth it.
If love is not the reason for what we do for people, then what we do is ultimately in vain (1 Corinthians 13). Sometimes in the middle of engaging in discipleship, we can get caught up in doing certain things to be seen or trying to "teach" certain principles to appear so wise to other people in some kind of effort to prove something. The problem is that kind of behavior is rooted in selfishness, pride, arrogance, and insecurities. When you really know who you are in Christ, you don't have to try to prove anything to anyone.
"Fulfilling Jesus’ command to make disciples is about more than having the right theology or well-developed teaching points" (Francis Chan). Making disciples isn’t about gathering pupils to listen to your teaching. It’s not about what you know—or what you think you know—it’s about love. Let's always be faithful to God’s call to love the people around us. We need to love people enough to help them see their need to love and obey God. Moreover, we don't need to beat people down with religion. We don't need any more Pharisees. What we need is more people showing people Jesus, the One Who loves us perfectly.
It is inevitable that trials will come to both believers in Christ and non-believers alike. But to the believers, don't run away from Christ; but draw closer to Him as you share in His sufferings (1 Peter 4:13). During times of ease and comfort, it's easy to fall into complacency and doing things our own way. But we must stay sharp. What would be the point of having the Comforter if we'd always be comfortable? It's during those tough times that the Holy Spirit comforts us, reminds us of the Father's promises, and leads us to a closer walk with Christ. When the Apostle Peter mentions the concept of a "fiery trial" (1 Peter 4:12), he was referencing Emperor Nero setting Christians on fire. But maybe your trial seems to be burning you up in a sense. Don't let it negatively affect your commitment to Christ. During a fiery trial, focus on God's Word that should be like a fire shut up in your bones (Jeremiah 20:9). ... Fight fire with fire.
The Great Commission calls us to people inside the church (maybe someone needs to rededicate their lives back to God and not rely on religiosity) and to those outside of the church (reaching the unsaved). The Great Commission is for the message of Jesus to be spread across the globe. Your brothers and sisters in Christ might be scared to share the Gospel, especially if certain people with whom they might talk seem a bit intimidating. Moreover, maybe your brothers and sisters have various insecurities, but let them know you have dealt with some insecurities yourself, and remind them that God is greater than our insecurities and fears.
Also it helps to know that you don't have to know everything in order to share the Gospel with others. You just have to be a willing and available vessel to God. Don't put any extra pressure on yourself. Remember that Jesus said in Matthew 11:30, "...My yoke is easy, and My burden is light." Remember that as you share the Gospel, Jesus is with you, the Holy Spirit dwells in you, and His great power is there for you. Keep in mind that if people reject "us" while we share the Gospel, it's not really us they are rejecting, it is God Himself (Luke 10:16). So who do you know that needs to hear the Gospel? Ask God to give you the courage to tell them about this wonderful treasure you have in Christ Jesus and about how God does not want people separated from Him for eternity. It shows you care about them enough to not want to see them face hell.
Real discipleship is not for the faint of heart. It's going to cost you something. I remember someone once said that it is harder to be a real Christian in America, than anywhere else. I believe it too. Look around. We have all these luxuries and so many resources at our individual disposals. Why would any American who is well off feel as if they need God to fulfill their needs? We in America often have this false sense of autonomy and entitlement. Do we really know what it means to have to give up something major to truly follow Christ as a disciple? Do we really know what it means to count up the cost? I can assure you that those in the eastern part of the world who have to meet in secret in order to have Bible studies and fellowship to avoid being killed know what it means to count the cost of following Jesus. So here in America, I think we struggle with real discipleship because many of us might not have to literally give up much. So we might take discipleship for granted. But when you have to give up a lot, then you take it all the more seriously. I can honestly say that I have not had to really give up much to follow Jesus, but I recognize that I must give up my own will at least in order to do His.
God did not create us to live in isolation away from other people. So what does that mean for discipleship? Discipleship means investing in deep relationships. It's not just about sharing Biblical information. It's about groups of people doing life together. So some people might shy away from discipleship because of the fear of getting hurt. How do we combat that fear? We pray for God to give us courage. We pray that God would help us to be compassionate towards others, no matter the scenarios we have to face.
I just want to encourage and inspire as many people as I can for Jesus Christ.