by Courtney Fukushima
If someone were to ask you, “What does discipleship mean to you?”, what would you say? Up until this past year and a half, I had always thought of discipleship as a “bonus option” or “extra credit” in the Christian walk of faith for those who chose to pursue it. However, the Lord changed my heart completely in this area, by graciously filling my life and heart with the one thing I thought I could do without in my walk with Him.
Around November 2015 I was surprised when God placed the first three discipleship relationships into my life. Today, I have been incredibly blessed to now have five amazing Junior High girls, and a mentor of my own to enter into this journey called discipleship with.
Although discipleship can take many forms, our ultimate example of true discipleship relationships can be found through God’s Word.
“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). In order to be disciples of others, we must first be true disciples of Christ. By laying down our personal desires each day we allow a true journey with God to begin. Everyone has their own cross to carry, but no matter the size or weight I came to the realization that we do not have to carry it alone.
Similar to climbing up a high mountain, one rarely goes alone but brings at least one other to help him along the way; when one is tired, the other will pick him up. “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10).
God provides us with His Word, which leads us to create healthy relationships as well as build on and exercise our “Spiritual muscles” with one another. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Through my own discipler, I have grown to see with new eyes the depths of God’s Word and realize with amazement just how much He has already provided for us through the Scriptures.
Experiencing discipleship relationships with my girls along with a mentor of my own, I am constantly reminded of the love God has for His children. I love these girls, and yet God always reminds me that He loves them even MORE. I’ve learned throughout this past year-and-a-half why Jesus spoke so much about his 12 disciples. These men were an essential part of God’s work in His life, and companions to whom he entrusted and loved so much. Discipleship put very simply is holding one’s hand and connecting it to God’s. Sometimes the journey on the way there may throw hurdles at us, but honestly the best part is that we get to jump over them together.
One of my favorite parts of discipleship relationships is that the core of the relationship is always Jesus. When a bond is held together by the love of Christ and the common goal to strive together in growing closer to Him, what things of this world could ever break that?
Especially in the midst of life’s busyness, I have always enjoyed and found so much restoration, rest, and fulfillment when I meet with my girls, as I hope they do as well. Despite any age gap, I believe that talking about your walks with God and just going through life together with the support from one another can place any relationship on a firm foundation.
A quote introduced to me by Kay Carey that continuously resonates with me is: “More time spent with fewer people produces a greater and longer lasting impact for God” (Ron Lee Davis). May we love one another deeply, speak in Truth, share each other’s burdens, and feel confident that we never have to walk this journey alone!