T oday I had another Bible study with--I'll call him Paul Smith. Paul was baptized into Christ 4-5 months ago. Paul had been angry with God for years because he and his wife had suffered two miscarriages and had not been able to have children. Paul came to us because he and his wife at the time were headed towards divorce. This divorce is now finalized, despite his wishes.
Paul was helped in his faith walk initially by the Celebrate Recovery group. Then we studied the Story of Redemption together with a friend that he had developed in Celebrate Recovery. He accepted Christ and was baptized.
I have continued to meet with Paul almost every week since his baptism. He comes each week with questions--lots of questions. He has questions about how to deal with his wife, his boss, his neighbor. He has had many questions from the numerous sermons that he listens to and the book that he is reading now, The Purpose-Driven Life. He continues to wrestle with God.
Paul came to our study today with a question about when life begins, and when a body has a soul. Is it at birth? Is it sometime in the womb? Is it at conception? When is the age of accountability? Did I believe in this concept. And would children be in heaven? Would they be resurrected as an adult or as a child?
It took me a few minutes into the discussion before I realized that these were not just intellectual questions for Paul . He wanted to know these answers because his wife had had two miscarriages. He always wanted to be a father, and he would often curse God whenever he saw a school bus go by.
As I sought to listen and answer these questions, I had to deal with issues like God's knowledge of the future, God's active involvement in the world, God's love and his discipline, the nature of the Psalms, the resurrection, love for our enemies, forgiveness and more.
And as I went through these topics with Paul, I could feel that my own faith was affirmed. And it struck me. If we are not discipling other Christians, we ourselves fail to grow. These truths which I have studied for years gained new life as I thought about them in light of Paul's very real situation.
This is how God intended the church to be. A church that does not evangelize does not have new Christians. And without this influx of "new blood," we fail to grow spiritually. So evangelism is essential not only in reaching new Christians, but in Spiritually forming longtime Christians.
Who are you helping to disciple? How much do you think that discipling others help us to grow spiritually?