Disciple making best takes place within a Hebrew understanding of knowledge. What I mean is that we need to take the whole person into account if we are to see authentic transformation in those whom we disciple. Education needs to happen in the context of “real life.” The way we do this is the way Jesus Christ asked His followers to do it:
Act your way into a new way of thinking.
So whether we find ourselves with old thinking and old behavior (or new thinking and old behavior), the way forward is to put actions into the equation.
While we are acting, we are thinking by knowing questions to ask and answers to give. We must learn to think on our feet. I call it, “stand-up Christianity.”
Let me give you an example: While talking to a man today I asked him two heart-level questions: “Jon, why are you so antagonist toward God and religion? In your inner spirit what do you truly believe about God?” He and I have had many intellectual conversations but I sensed God’s Spirit prompting me to address his heart.
We were both on elliptical machines at the time I asked the questions. He got off his machine, stood by me, and a 30-minute conversation ensued. It was wonderful.
He said “it is hard to believe in God when there is so much hypocrisy and suffering caused by religion. I really don’t trust anyone!”
He rapidly fired hostile questions and statements about religion in particular. When he got to the Christian Crusades, (as most everyone does) I agreed that the atrocities were evil but came back at him with a question, “Why, don’t you talk as negatively about the Muslim Crusades that took place in the same period of time in which hundreds of thousands of people were killed and murdered in the name of Allah? He said he did not know about the Muslim Crusades and the millions of lives that have been killed by Muslims since the beginning of Islam.
He also asked, “Doesn’t the Bible tell us to turn the other cheek?”
I said, “yes it does, but that was in the context of personal persecution for one’s faith in Christ. However, in Romans 13 the Bible describes that the primary role of government is to protect a society from those who wish to destroy it.” He was not aware of the truths of Romans 13.
He stated emphatically that all major wars and genocides were caused by religion. I informed him that that was simply not true. I stated that the atheistic regimes of Stalin, Pol Pot, Mussolini, and Hitler, to name of few, have killed and murdered more people than religious wars. He was quick to say that Hitler was a Christian. I said no he was a socialist. By the way, the idea that Hitler was a Christian is being taught in every major university in America.
What I was doing in this conversation was “demolishing arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God…” (2 Corinthians 10:5).
Here’s the point: “We learn best by going and doing.” In actuality I was training myself to gain ability to grasp issues, resolve, and integrate truth in the context of real life situations. Not only was my thinking capacity stretched, but my behavior capacity increased. In initiating these conversations I am advancing the purpose of Christ to “Go into all the world…” (Matthew 28:19).
My practice of openly sharing the faith changed my behavior and thinking.
Drop me a line for how you may be compelled to do the same thing!