In a past post on the Training Resources Page, we highlighted the correlation between the personal spiritual maturity of the disciple-maker and his positive impact on others. It’s easiest to give away what you yourself have. Think of it this way: if you want to be an effective disciple-maker, you must tend to your own spiritual health.

The Bible uses a number of images and metaphors for spiritual health, but one particularly vivid metaphor is that of fruitfulness (see, for example, John 15:1–6; Galatians 5:22,23). Fruitfulness is not ultimately a matter of ingenuity, skill, or resourcefulness, according to Jesus. Instead, it is a matter of “abiding,” or “remaining,” in Him. Thus, the best disciple-makers are the best “abiders.”

Abiding is, at some level, an abstract concept. On its face the word strikes us with its passive tone. We should recognize, though, that abiding is not withdrawn from reality nor divorced from obedience. Jesus’ discussion of abiding in John 15:1–11 clarifies that there is little distinction between “abiding,” “abiding in Jesus’ Word,” and “abiding in Jesus’ love.” Someone who is abiding in Christ will naturally keep the Word of Christ and experience the love of Christ.

Here is our disciple-making charge for today: if you want to move others close to Jesus, you must recognize that every time you choose in faith to obey Him, you are becoming a better “abider,” and thus a better disciple-maker. There is no skill you can acquire or training you can receive that will be more foundational for your disciple-making endeavors than your own active trust in Christ.

How have you seen this principle play itself out? Leave us a comment below.

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Each Thursday we send out our Training Resources Newsletter, which shares a new ministry tool and an encouraging story about God’s Spirit preparing someone for service.