- 2 Timothy 3:10-14 (NIV) 10 You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, 11 persecutions, sufferings--what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. 12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it,
A disciple of Christ is a disciplined follower of Christ. Jesus called 12 men to Him and demonstrated what it meant to "disciple them." They ate together, travelled together, laughed together, ministered together...they did life together! When He was ascending back into heaven, after His resurrection He commissioned the disciples (and by the nature of discipleship, all disciples where were to follow) to go and make disciples of all nations. That is where we find ourselves today - still commissioned to make disciples (disciplined followers of Christ) of all nations.
As we read Paul's letter to Timothy we continue to catch a glimpse into a journeyman's approach. Every journeyman takes on apprentices and Timothy was on of Paul's apprentices. And so the journeyman Paul is instructing Timothy in the ways of being a disciple and making other disciples.
In today's reading we see Paul telling Timothy that there will be lots of people who will say let me disciple you in the ways of Christ, but beware they are false teachers and leaders, and we can be led astray. If you are going to be discipled then it is important to follow the right leaders and Paul says that the best way is to look at their lives and see if what they are saying are matching up with what they are doing. A lot of people talk a good talk but what are their responses like in hard times and when things are not going their way. Just as important is how do they respond to God in good times?
Paul reminds Timothy that his life is where the proof of authenticity lies. Timothy had done life together with Paul and had seen firsthand the apostle's response to life and it's hardships. Paul taught Timothy in the "classroom" style of passing on information but there was also the teaching that was imitation - follow me as I follow Christ.
So the question to us is double-edged:
Who are we allowing to infuence our lives? Have we looked at their lives and seen positive proof that they are truly disciplined followers of Christ? Or are we caught up in the celebrity mindset of the world?
How do we decide who influences how we live?
The other side would be, am I living a life worthy of imitation? Can I say to those I am influencing, "Follow me as I follow Christ!"
Am I making myself available to do life together with those I am discipling? Or are we "discipling from a distance" (BTW there is no such thing.)