Following up on what I wrote yesterday, I want to point out something Justin Taylor posted on his blog. He quotes excerpts from D.A. Carson’s newest book, “From the Resurrection to His Return: Living Faithfully in the Last Days.” In it, Carson exhorts Christians to step up to the plate to disciple younger people, following our biblical mandate and the example of the apostle Paul. You can read JT’s post here… I highly recommend it!
The questions Carson asks are things that have really been convicting me lately. Would I be able to go to a younger Christian — or even an unbeliever — and say, “Watch me. If you want to know what it means to be a Christian, imitate my life”?
Whether I am able to do so or not, I haven’t done it. There really can only be two reasons for this, and two responses. Either my life is not worthy of imitation (in which case I need to pray for some serious sanctification), or I am not taking the initiative to invite others into the sort of relationship that was such a great blessing in my life, when a Godly older man did something similar for me.
I suspect that there are elements of both of these reasons in my life, but the second is much more likely to be the main problem. Whether it’s something I’ve absorbed culturally or something that’s just an issue for me personally, I have a hard time saying “Watch me” without feeling as if I’m being arrogant or presumptuous. But this is the model of discipleship we see over and over in the Bible. It’s what Paul said. It’s what Jesus said. Old Testament leaders encouraged others to follow their example as well.
I suppose the difference lies in the motive. If I say “watch me” out of desire for my own glory, I have sinned, for I have put myself in God’s place. But if I say, “Watch me, because Jesus has changed my life,” then the glory is properly redirected to Christ. Of course, doing this means that I must be faithful to be “a model of good works” (Titus 2:7-8). This is also why accountability is so important, and why cross-generational ministry is so foundational to the life of the Church. If I am saying “watch me” to younger generations, then I had better also be saying “watch me” to Godly older men who can keep me accountable to set a proper example. I need to be constantly sharpened so that the example I set for those who are imitating me (including my own son) is an example worthy of emulation!
I have recently committed to myself and to God that I will actively seek opportunities to disciple younger people, and to make myself available to those who are seeking discipleship. Pray with me for the boldness to live out this commitment with integrity and humility!