“. . . while they were passing through the cities, . . .” Acts 16:4
Successful Christians aren’t an accident, they are the result of someone’s intentional investment. Timothy was Paul’s dearest friend. He was a son in the faith and appears to be adopted in the faith as an heir to Paul. Timothy was Paul’s understudy, prepared and discipled to be trained, taught, and entrusted with the gospel. Paul’s whole focus was centered on Timothy to be an heirloom of faith.
There is a truth and lesson here for Christians today. Every disciple you meet is the result of someone’s influence. Someone walked along side of them, showed them the ways of Jesus, and challenged them to live to a higher standard. A discipler’s influence is like a pebble striking the surface of water, it started a rippling effect that radiated long after the initial impact was gone. Every disciple is the fruit of someone who quietly, patiently put in the work to build the next generation.
One of the great questions in discipling another is “How do you know when they are ready?” There are four marks of every disciple who’s capable of making disciples themselves.
As spiritual maturity takes place there will be a growing dependence on God, a drive to know Christ more intimately, a deepening understanding of God’s word, along with a humble confidence to operate in the ways of Jesus.
They are able to effectively relate their own story of knowing Christ to others. The decisions of their life are influenced by their relationship with Jesus.
Their faith goes beyond needing immediate emotional pay-off to follow Jesus. They remain faithful when their faith is tested. In the face of doubts, discouragement and despair they continue to believe God is good.
This is the unseen ingredient of grit, valor, and determination to demonstrate they can withstand trials and continue to do the daunting work of discipleship.
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