During a recent conversation with a couple of long-time discipleship friends, we asked each other what we have learned along the way and how we have changed what we do with respect to coming alongside another person in guiding them on their journey of faith. It was a great conversation that allowed us to encourage each other, knowing that we all may have many more decades of engaging with others should God give us the strength and health.
With all that we talked about, we agreed on one main theme – we all have recognized in deeper ways the uniqueness of each person’s journey of faith and we have all allowed much more leeway in those we come alongside.
This might seem like an obvious statement, and yet how often do we infer what we are learning and how we learn to other people. We are growing in a certain area and so we assume that others should also be growing in that area. God is prompting us to read the bible in larger chunks so we believe that this is what someone we are meeting with should do.
And yet, God sees us all uniquely. God prompts each of us uniquely. God has an assignment for one person to take on and as such he is moving in their life differently than someone else.
After 30 years of regularly meeting with guys, I am much more likely to be watching for how God is speaking to them personally and doing what I can to pray for and fan into flame the specifics of their life instead of trying to get them to come along with what God is prompting in me.
I am glad to share where God is guiding me and allowing them insight into what I am wrestling with on my own personal journey, trusting that I am modeling for them what this looks like. Yet I need to be in tune with how the Spirit is touching their life and providing whatever guidance and prayer I can for them. It is a lot more fun having a front row seat to someone’s life change than trying to force them into my life change.
Lately, I’ve been using the analogy of a home with many rooms. When we choose to follow Jesus it is an invitation to enter into our home, and he gladly comes in through the front door and is now present. However, our home also has many rooms in it – the finances room, the marriage room, the parenting room, the loving your crazy neighbour room, the sexuality room, etc. Jesus walks around our home and asks for access to these rooms, one by one. He wants to enter each room, rearrange it, move some things out and move some things in.
I believe that God knows the best order in which to enter the rooms, and it looks different for each one of us. The important thing is that I am eagerly listening to his promptings and opening up the door to room as he asks. And, as I come alongside others, to help them discern what rooms God is wanting access to in their life and being there with them as they allow God access into the messiness or barrenness of a specific area of life.
It is my desire that as we come alongside others, we will be listening intently with them for what God is calling them into and then being a friend, guide, mentor, contributor and prayer support for them.
For the kingdom.