Being a disciple precedes making disciples. Knowing Christ precedes making Christ known.
Being strengthened by grace precedes entrusting the good deposit to others.
You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. – 2 Timothy 2:1-2
You can’t give to others what you do not possess yourself. You can’t help others experience what you are not experiencing yourself. You can’t show others what you have not seen yourself.
You won’t strengthen others by grace unless you have been strengthened by grace yourself.
Paul reminds us that passing on the faith is not dependent first and foremost on our strategies. Nor does it rest on our resources or personality. Making disciples is a spiritual task requiring spiritual strength. The strength needed for making disciples is the grace found in Jesus Christ.
In 1 Timothy 1:8-9, Paul exhorts Timothy to not be ashamed of the gospel but to share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began.
The grace that saves us strengthens us to serve.
The grace that transforms those we disciple must be transforming us.
The grace proclaimed in our ministries must be prized in our hearts.
The grace we point others to we must run to ourselves.
In the pursuit of making disciples, I have found this to be one of the easiest areas to neglect. We cannot rely on strength from yesterday in making disciples today. We need renewed strength each day to make disciples faithfully. We cannot depend on past experiences of God’s grace to float us in our present ministry. We need a fresh taste of God’s grace for each moment we serve.
How can we be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus? We are strengthened by God’s grace through the Spirit of God working in us as we come to the Word of God.
The grace that is in Christ Jesus is found in God’s Word, which is not only able to make us wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus but also to equip us for every good work. Therefore, Paul tells Timothy, “But, as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed.” (2 Tim. 3:14)
This all seems so obvious, but is all too easy to neglect. It is essential we be daily strengthened by God’s grace for the task of making disciples.