Why I’m Not a Disciple Maker and You Aren’t Either


daily text logoOctober 1, 2015

1 Corinthians 2:10-16

The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world,but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us.13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. 14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, 16 for,

“Who has known the mind of the Lord
    so as to instruct him?”

But we have the mind of Christ.



Paul is the consummate disciple maker. These Corinthian Christians have gotten off track. Word gets back to Paul. He writes them letters. In this letter Paul ever so diplomatically and gently takes them back to square one—the Cross of Jesus Christ— or “Christ crucified” as Paul put it. From there he goes to square 2, retraining them in the ways of the person and work of the Holy Spirit.

And what is the Holy Spirit up to? He reveals, reorients and renews our minds according to the mind of Christ.

Discipleship is the supernatural process of a human person being remade in the image of God, which means being re-formed in the mind of Christ. We are not the disciple makers. The Holy Spirit is the disciple maker. We participate with the Holy Spirit’s work in the Holy Spirit’s ways in the midst of the community fellowship the Holy Spirit creates to restore our broken race into the radiant beauty of God’s glory. That’s what discipleship is all about.

I want you to notice the powerful pneumatology ($25 seminary word meaning, in essence, a theology of the Spirit) in Paul’s words.

This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.

Discipleship is not the wise teaching the unwise. It is not the mature teaching the immature. It is not the professionals teaching the amateurs. In fact, discipleship does not happen in power oriented relationships or in social contexts built on status oriented relationships. True Christian discipleship only happens in the midst of a community of people who prefer one another over themselves and who together learn to love one another with the very essence of the supernatural holy love of God. (see also 1 Corinthians 13)

Just because we call whatever it is we are doing in the church “discipleship” does not make it discipleship. Discipleship cannot be reduced to a program or a formula or a plan or a curriculum. The mind of Christ, the life of Jesus—which is itself the message of the Cross—is our curriculum.

It’s why Paul, writing to the Christian Philippians put it this way:

Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,

who, though he was in the form of God,
    did not regard equality with God
    as something to be exploited,
but emptied himself,
    taking the form of a slave,
    being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
    he humbled himself
    and became obedient to the point of death—
    even death on a cross.

Therefore God also highly exalted him
    and gave him the name
    that is above every name,
so that at the name of Jesus
    every knee should bend,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue should confess
    that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:5-11

The Holy Spirit is the teacher who makes us disciples together in the community of the humble where the would-be disciple maker and the disciple cannot be distinguished from one another. Picture Jesus washing his disciples feet and you have it.

It’s why Paul, writing to the Christian Romans put it this way,

“Do not be conformed any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2.

When we look back on our lives we will realize it was the most humble, unassuming believers who the Holy Spirit most employed in making us disciples of Jesus Christ. They probably weren’t even trying to “disciple” us. Through the sheer unadulterated authenticity of their faith-full lives  the Holy Spirit discipled us. Let us aspire to become those kind of people today—for the sake of others.


Daily Text Facebook 10-1-15


1. What do you think of this notion of the Holy Spirit being the disciple-maker? How does that change the way we think about our role in the process?

2. Where are you challenged by today’s text and reflection? Where do you push back on this way of framing it?

3. What insights might the Holy Spirit be impressing on you now? What are the implications of those for today?

P.S. Join the Daily Text Fasting Challenge. It’s 40 days, one day per week at a time, over the next 52 weeks. It’s a food only fast. Begins after supper on one day and ends at 4pm the next- 2 meals. Liquids fine. Fasting goes better together. I’ll send you a short weekly encouragement email if you register.– sign up here.

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J.D. Walt writes daily for Seedbed’s Daily Text. He serves as Seedbed’s Sower in Chief. Follow him @jdwalt on Twitter or email him at jd.walt@seedbed.com. Get the Daily Text delivered to your inbox fresh every morning. Subscribe HERE.

All Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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