During a recent trip to Ghana, one of the conference speakers drew attention to an interesting fact. Not long ago it wasn’t unusual to see two men walking hand in hand down the streets of their neighborhood discussing issues of life together. He noted that with the dramatic spread of aids as a consequence of sinful homosexual behavior, what once was a common sight in Ghana is now rarely seen. The speaker’s point was simple. Satan has so corrupted the hearts and minds of the world, that genuine signs of healthy friendship are no longer seen as just that.
The fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil isn’t so tasty anymore. Satan has turned what was once viewed as appropriate into something ugly. Just like with Adam and Eve, Satan now uses the fear of being seen as a homosexual as a tool to isolate and attack others.
I’ve Got Your Back!
Disciple making is spiritual work. It is the front line of a spiritual war. Discipleship requires that those involved be intimately known by the people they work with and minister to. When Jesus sent seventy of His disciples to minister throughout the land, He sent them out two by two (Luke 10:1). Why didn’t Jesus send them out individually? They could have covered more territory in less time if they had split up. Didn’t He know that this was a serious waste of man-power?
Returning from their short-term mission trips, the men Yeshua had sent out gave their reports with great joy. “‘Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.’ He said to them, ‘I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you. (Luke 10:17-19)”’
If we are to play a part in God’s transformation of the lives of others, we need to get out on the road and engage the enemy wherever we meet him. It is dangerous to minister alone. We need a ministry partner on the road, someone with flesh and blood to stand beside us. In his rebellion against God, Satan knows that men, joined hand in hand, focused on God’s reclamation and reconciliation ministry are a force to be reckoned with. “Our war is not against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12).”
Think about it. It won’t take long for you to come up with the names of very gifted men who walked alone on the battlefield that were taken out by Satan through a momentary moral lapse. Road warriors who remain on the road alone day after day are an easy target for Satan and his minions. Jesus knew that in this world our war is a battle is a spiritual one. He recognized that for His followers to stand firm they would need someone to watch their back out on the road. “United we stand, divided we fall.”
Plainly said, disciple making is a team sport. Our independence makes us easy prey for the enemy through our own sin nature. A discipler of others should always look for ways to do ministry in partnership. Stop going it alone. Build strong brotherly bonds with men of character. Support one another in the conflict. Appropriately, show your love for one another. Believe me, it will make a statement to those who are watching, providing opportunities for both evangelism and dialogue.
Be Not Afraid
“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you. (John 15:12-14)”
Earlier this week, I had lunch with three brothers in the Lord. We discussed a number of perils that we should be aware of when in ministry both here and abroad. One of these is the danger of being independent and isolated. Following a great meal and wonderful fellowship, one of the men asked for prayer. Bowing my head, I felt hands reaching for mine on the right and the left. Looking up, I recognized that we were in plain sight for all to see right there in the middle of the restaurant. We were four men approaching the God’s throne of grace as one, hand in hand. Did Jesus see Satan falling?
The Story of God
On a related subject, as believers in Messiah Jesus we are told to make disciples everywhere at all times. One of the most effective ways of engaging people is through the use of stories. The video below introduces the idea of storytelling as an important component in the disciple making process.