Discipleship: Iron Sharpens Iron

two women studying Bible on porch swing

“You want me to do what?” I thought to myself. Standing in front of me were 2 women. One woman was asking me to mentor the other woman. I knew who the young woman was, but I did not know anything about her. With trepidation, I agreed. We exchanged phone numbers, and within a few weeks, we were meeting at a local restaurant to start the Bible study Friend to Friend by Edna Ellison. Week after week, we met, learning more about each other as we prayed, studied, and shared our lives. That was 16 years ago.

Many times, we use the words disciple and mentor in the same sentence and intertwine their meanings. However, a disciple is one who accepts and follows the doctrines of another. The individual is a learner of a master teacher. Whereas, a mentor is one who serves as an adviser. Take a moment to read Matthew 4:18–22. Jesus called the fishermen. They left everything and followed Him. And that, my friend, is the difference between a disciple and a mentor. A disciple hears the call and willingly follows. Before you can disciple another, you must first ask yourself, Am I truly a follower of Jesus Christ, and do I have a personal relationship with Him? Am I maturing in my knowledge of the Word and growing in my faith? If your answer is yes, you are ready to move into discipleship.

While the word discipleship is not found in the Bible, it is implied throughout Scripture. It is a process whereby an individual invests in the life of another with both minds and hearts focused on the Master Teacher. When Jesus told His 12 disciples, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations” (Matt. 28:19–20), He was talking about discipleship. He calls the individual, that person answers, and He calls again for another Christ follower to disciple (2 Tim. 2:2; 3:16–17). The journey of multiplication begins.

Consider these things regarding discipleship:

  1. Always point to Christ. It is about knowing Him and making Him known.
  2. Teach and share the Word. His Word never returns void (Isa. 55:11), and it has the power to renew our minds (Rom. 12:2) and transform lives.
  3. Be a Barnabas. Encourage others to remain true to the Lord with devoted hearts (Acts 11:23b).
  4. Women are instructed to disciple younger women (Titus 2:4–5).
  5. Discipleship is applying Scripture to every aspect of our lives. The precepts and promises apply to daily living, making right decisions for the glory of God.

Over the years, I’ve watched my friend grow in her faith, persevere through many trials, and become a prayer warrior. Today, this once shy woman is finishing her master’s degree in women’s ministry, leading Bible studies, and living on mission. The writer of Proverbs states it this way: “Iron sharpens iron, and one person sharpens another” (Prov. 27:17). I call it full-circle discipleship!

Laura Leathers may be reached at write4missions@gmail.com.


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