As I described in my last post Paul’s discipleship strategy was intense, personal and emotional.

Please be sure to read the passage that was described in 1Thessalonians 2:1-19 before continuing.

As I reflect on this passage, I notice 26 characteristics of growing disciples:

  1. Suffering (for the Gospel)
  2. Boldness (in the Gospel)
  3. Opposition (He faced opposition to the Gospel)
  4. Exhortation (A deep pleading to obey the Gospel)
  5. Approved (He was deeply called by God)
  6. Entrusted (He was entrusted with the gospel, and He entrusted them also with the sacred Gospel.)
  7. Spoke to please God, not men (Paul always sought to please Jesus through reliance on Him.)
  8. Non-flattering speech (He did not seek to flatter the Thessalonians, but told them the truth in love.)
  9. Non-greedy (He sought to never be a burden on them.)
  10. Non-glory seeking (He sought only God and His glory.)
  11. Gentle (as a nursing mother)
  12. Affectionate
  13. Labored (Faithfully labored among them)
  14. Experienced Hardship (Faced great hardship for the gospel and them)
  15. Proclaimed Fearlessly the gospel
  16. Devoutly (He was devout, so they could see holiness in action.)
  17. Uprightly (Not just a holy life, but he avoided things that could be construed as not being right.)
  18. Blamelessly (and walked a blameless life in Christ in front of them)
  19. Exhorting (as a father does his children. Notice he made it personal by seeing himself as their mother and father.)
  20. Encouraging (as a father does his children)
  21. Imploring (as a father does his children)
  22. Constantly thanked God when the word was received (He rejoiced! I am terribly poor at this!)
  23. Connected in the spirit (He saw distance from them as an opportunity for the Holy Spirit to connect them deeper in Christ!)
  24. Eagerness to see each other (How many times are we so eager to see each other that you can hardly stand the time when you are not together?)
  25. Enduring suffering (He endured suffering for them to get a glimpse into the sufferings of Christ.)
  26. Disciples are hope, joy, and crown of exultation in the presence of Jesus at His coming (Do I really think of the students that I have discipled over the years as my crown of exultation (rejoicing) when I stand before Jesus on the day of his return?)

If we are honest, we all probably fall short of this standard of discipleship that Paul lays out in these verses. Let us repent of our inadequacy and learn to lean completely on the adequacy of Christ to disciple his Church through us. He will after all do that for and in us.

Remember the great commission, where He promises us that we will be his witnesses:

Let us run to Jesus the perfect disciple-maker and “fisher of men”, and ask Him to make us desperate for Him, and His way of affection, boldness, suffering, gentleness, Holiness, and rejoicing that He lived in, and now lives in for us. Jesus is alive in heaven and praying for your discipleship strategy to be effective! “Who (Jesus) is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding (praying) for us.” (Romans 8:34 ESV)

Check out the rest of this 3-part series:

Paul’s Discipleship Strategy
26 Aspects of Discipleship
Radical Hospitality

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Richard Moore has been preaching and communicating to youth since 1994. He is married to Simone and has 3 children, Ana, Lydia, and Caleb.  Richard is passionate about seeing an ever-increasing number of students come to know, worship, and obey Jesus authentically.  To connect with Richard click here