The right tools sure can make a job easier! Imagine trying to cut your grass with scissors?! Or your hair with a chain saw?! Without the right tools – at best you can end up frustrated, at worse, a bloody mess!
It’s the same way when discipling. Proverbs 25:11 states, “A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver” ~ is that ever true for a tool aptly given!
One friend was struggling in her prayer life – when I shared how I use index cards on a ring to record prayer requests and then take them with me when I’m walking and praying, she got so excited!!! You wouldn’t believe the life this simple idea has breathed into her praying!
Another tool that’s really been enhancing my prayer life is the ACTS acronym. Each night before bed I pull out a composition notebook and spend time in Adoration writing down what comes to mind as I remember who the Lord is and praise Him for this! Then I spend time Confessing my sins. It’s amazing how much better I sleep when I’ve taken time to agree with God about the ways I’ve blown it and how much more I appreciate Him after coming face to face with how much He’s forgiven me. Does that ever flow naturally into Thanksgiving, which really helps fight against focusing on what I don’t have. And then I share what’s on my heart with the Lord through Supplication. Over and over I’m amazed at how He answers these requests. Having a written record where I see Him in action doing this certainly does add to my joy! Now I could pray before nodding off without this, but I find this tool really stretches me and helps me pray in ways I might not naturally.
One big difference between someone who has been discipling women for thirty years versus someone who has just started is the size of her toolbox! In Matthew 13:52 we’re told “And He said to them, ‘Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a house who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.”
Can those treasures ever be of great value! There is so much we can learn from others! In fact, that’s one of the things I love about summer training programs – or any place where people who love to disciple gather together – it’s such a great opportunity to swap tools and discover new treasures the Lord has given to someone else! Can this ever save you time and keep you from having to re-invent the wheel!
But tools can be dangerous too.
Just as you can’t do everything with a hammer – there is not one tool that is good for everything or everybody!
Sometimes we can get so excited when we see the difference a tool is making in someone’s life we think everyone should be using this. But note that word “aptly” in Proverbs 25:11. “Apt” means “suitable or appropriate for the circumstances.”
Don’t become tool dependent, thinking “this worked in the past, of course it’s the best for now!” Instead, make certain you are always depending on the Lord! Only He truly knows what is suitable or appropriate for any given circumstance or person – and remember His ways aren’t our ways!
And don’t let the enemy deceive you into thinking you don’t have what it takes if there’s barely anything in your toolbox!
A discipler following Jesus with a tiny toolbox, is infinitely better off than someone with a loaded toolbox who depends solely on her tools!
You see, there really is just one tool that’s vital – the Word of God! From this one treasure the Lord can give you any number of ideas for ways of creatively applying it!
When one of my friends went to Africa, he found the tools that worked in America weren’t as effective over there ~ and He had a HUGE tool box! So what did He do? He went to the Lord and using His Word discovered new ways of ministering to those the Lord brought into His life!
Even seasoned disciplers sometimes need to start from scratch!
So what does it look like to have the right stuff? If you have Jesus and His Word you’re good to go!
But don’t dis the tools – seek to keep adding to your toolbox all you can – for when you use them as Jesus directs they can be an amazing help! Just never rely on them instead of Him!