Links Daily Devotional

Who’s Next?

Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. (Colossians 1:28, ESV)

The First Tee program in my city is run by an old high school teammate of mine, and he does a beautiful job of promoting the program’s efforts at getting kids into golf who might otherwise never think of playing the game we love.

We apply ourselves to practices that foster maturity and as we are doing these things, God deepens the traits in us that show maturity and glorify him.This is, we know, only the beginning. The general manager at the course where our First Tee program is headquartered recently engaged a coaching colleague of mine in a discussion about getting more kids to the game. You see, those First Tee kids are showing up for the clinics and the driving range games, but their interest stops short of actually playing golf. This is a problem, if not now, then for the future. If you care about golf in the years to come—and certainly golf industry people do—you have to be asking, “Who’s next?”

Now as we so often do here, let’s draw an important parallel, because those who care about the growth of the kingdom of God need to be asking the same question.

In his little book, Discipling, pastor Mark Dever expresses this concern like this: “I want to promote and equip [others] who look like they can help to advance Christianity into a place I can never go: the future beyond my passing.” You and I should be concerned with replicating ourselves in fulfilling the Great Commission to make disciples who in turn make other disciples.

How does this happen? In two words, maturity and maturing.

We must bring our own level of maturity to the task. For many, this is the disclaiming excuse they use to leave the work of discipling for others. We cannot take up that excuse and take our faith seriously. Faith in a living Savior is a living faith—moving forward. So we must always be looking to further our maturity, in righteous living, sober-mindedness, self-control, respectability, a hospitable nature, doctrinal understanding, sobriety, gentleness, and modesty. You might recognize that list; it comes from Paul’s outlined qualifications for overseers (elders) in 1 Timothy 3. That’s important. Their biblical emphasis means they are spiritual traits, not supplied by your excellence but by the Holy Spirit’s empowerment. We apply ourselves to practices that foster maturity—such as Scripture reading and memorization, prayer, fellowship, service—and as we are doing these things, God deepens the traits in us that show maturity and glorify him.

Which then sets us up for maturing—that is, for leading others down the course we have followed. Oh, we will have to tell the stories of our hiccups and trip-ups, and we will have to concede the places where we are not yet as mature as God would have us be. But this is nonetheless our work—all of us who call Christ King—for his sake, for the sake of those we disciple, and for the sake of all those who have yet to believe.

Jeff Hopper
February 13, 2017
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