To become a disciple and step out on faith to grow closer to God requires you to have already given your heart to Jesus. If you’re reading this section and you don’t know Jesus as your Savior, we invite you to visit our resources page for more information.
At this point, you’ve heard God’s voice, examined what He’s said to you, and stood up to answer. Now, with eagerness – and maybe even some reservations – you’re ready to dip your toe into the discipleship water and start walking in hot pursuit of what God is calling you to do.
Here are some practical points to help you on your journey. Don’t become overwhelmed with the idea that you need to dive into all of these points immediately and have them “perfected”. These are concepts you will work on throughout your journey with God. Just take it one step at a time.
1. Pray about everything
When you think you know exactly what you’re doing: pray. When you have to make a decision about something: pray. When you are rejoicing with excitement and thankfulness: pray. Throughout every part of your day and this new endeavor, pray. This doesn’t mean you have to drop to your knees for a formal prayer ten times a day. After all, prayer is simply talking with God in the way you feel comfortable, and you can have a little conversation with Him at any time of the day, wherever you are. Remember: a huge part of prayer is not only talking to God, but listening to what He has to say to you. These steps you’re taking on this journey should be with God, for God, and can only happen through God.
“For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.” – Colossians 1:9-12
2. Use your gifts and talents
You may already be aware of your gifts and talents, and God might be calling you to do something very specific. It’s also possible that you know God is calling you and you are ready to step out on faith, not really sure of what He wants you to do. If you are uncertain, one way to start uncovering your talents and abilities is to take a Spiritual Gifts Inventory. This type of questionnaire can spark ideas for you to pray about and also discuss with your pastor.
“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” – 1 Corinthians 12:4-7
3. Establish a plan
When you start any project, it helps to write it all down (or type it!) to gain an understanding of all the pieces involved and resources needed to achieve the end result. Establishing a plan on paper (or digital paper!) will help you pray very specifically throughout the process and help you take each part one step at a time to avoid becoming overwhelmed. Keep in mind that the plan you start with may change, according to God’s plan. You might think of this plan as a flexible outline; a tool to give you a sense of scope and direction.
“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’
“Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.” – Luke 14:28-33
4. Identify and overcome your obstacles
Once you have a full understanding of what God wants you to do and what you think the steps will be toward achieving it, take an extra minute to identify obstacles in your way. Your obstacles might be tangible such as time and money, or perceived such as various fears or feelings of inadequacy. Writing these obstacles down will help you become aware of them so you can meet them head on, with God’s help. Don’t let these obstacles – tangible or perceived – keep you from fulfilling God’s calling in your life: pray about them and ask for God’s help to overcome them. You might also want to discuss them with your pastor. Remember, these obstacles are no surprise to God. He might move some obstacles out of the way immediately, or He might use them to teach you something.
“Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” – Matthew 17:20
5. Find accountability partners
Not only is God by your side at every step of your journey, He will also put people in your path to help encourage you, educate you, and minister to you. Ask God to show you a person(s) or group you can partner with on your journey. Accountability partners will pray with you, support you, talk straight with you, and help you stay on track. They might be Christians you already know (friends, coworkers, family members, your church family), or you might ask your Pastor to help you identify people that would be equipped to serve in this role.
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” – Galatians 6:2
6. Be who and what God called you to be
You need mentors, educators, and people who believe in you so that you can take the seedling gifts and talents God has given you and grow them into excellence. At some point, it becomes time for you to take those gifts and, well, step out of the boat. God has given you a very special idea, task or dream, and it’s you something that only you can fulfill. Soak up all of the good resources around you and then let God help you move forward.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. ” – Matthew 5:14-16.