Brothers, I entreat you, become as I am, for I also have become as you are. You did me no wrong.
We know Jesus has called us to “make disciples”, that is the great commission (Matthew 28:19). But how do we do that?
There are countless conferences, books and debates on how to best disciple people. But here, we read something special. It is the Apostle Paul’s two-step discipleship strategy:
1. I Have Become As You Are
Paul begins by saying he first becomes like those he wants to win to Jesus. I don’t believe he is saying he abandons all his convictions or compromises his way of living.
Rather he is saying “I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some” (1 Corinthians 9:22). In other words, “I have sought to empathise with you. I have sought to show you I am not above you, but you and I are on the same level”.
Paul is saying finding the common ground is his job! And he has does this with those he has reached out to.
You want to disciple people for Jesus? Go to them, get in their world, understand where they live, find the common ground.
2. You Become As I Am
Now Paul has demonstrated his love and understanding for this new follower of Christ, he instructs them to seek to live as he lives.
This is not an arrogant statement. Rather a recognition that we all need examples in real life flesh and blood to model our life of father after. That is why he says, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1)
Discipleship is about life. Paul says my life is based upon Jesus’ life. If you want to know what that is like, imitate my example.
Do you want to disciple people to Jesus? Set the example, invite people into your world, demonstrate your devotion to Jesus, challenge them to do likewise.
PRAYER: Father, I see your hand at work in the life of the Apostle Paul. I ask you for grace to make disciples using the insights gleaned from this man’s life. Show me who to reach out to, and the grace to enable me to do it. In Jesus name, Amen