Exposed. At risk. Vulnerable. No one likes to be that way. But being vulnerable with people you disciple will make you and them more like Jesus.
I remember the first time I experienced being truly vulnerable with someone I was discipling. I don’t know exactly why I chose to approach this situation in my life this way but I knew I needed a trusted friend to enter into a real battle in my life. I was struggling with a real pride issue. I was living in fear that people would not view me to be as good a leader as the man who discipled me. My self-centeredness was affecting my prayers for him, my friendship with him, and my ability to trust him. It was all my own sin and it was eating me up.
So I sat there and told the person I was discipling about this issue. I told him everything. It was HARD! There I was the “stronger, older, wiser, more holy discipler” throwing my real weakness and sin on the table.
I did not know what the person I was discipling would think or how he would react. It was a real risk for me. Would I lose his respect? His trust? Would he tell other people? Would he just turn around and run! The amazing thing was that he embraced my struggle with understanding, respect, deeper friendship, accountability and prayer. That person walked with me all the way through that specific struggle. I, the discipler, became more like Jesus because the one I was discipling walked with me.
Jesus was an amazing model of vulnerability with His disciples. It was much later in His relationship with them that He opened up the deepest things of his personal life to them. It was not day one of their relationship. It was 3 years in. In Matthew 26 He made known to them around the dinner table that He was going to be betrayed and handed over to be crucified. It must have been really hard for the 12 or should I say 11 to hear this truth. Jesus betrayed! By one of them! No way! What was also amazing about this moment was that in the end of that conversation Jesus led them to sing a song of worship (Mat. 26:30). He pointed them to God in His own hard moment. Then Jesus took them further into His soul by allowing them to come into the garden with Him. He did not have to do this.
“Taking along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, “My soul is swallowed up in sorrow – to the point of death. Remain here and stay awake WITH ME.” (Mat. 26:37-38)
It was important for Jesus, the creator and sustainer of the universe, to allow those He was discipling to see the depths of his own pain. Jesus asked them to stay with him in His sorrow. The Son of God exposed. This was truly the atmosphere of vulnerability. Wow.
Jesus’ example has helped me see the great value of this principle:
• Inviting those we disciple to see and walk with us in our deep struggles in life leads us both to become more like Christ.
What I have learned by being vulnerable with people I am discipling:
1. It is hard and scary – You never really know how someone will respond when you reveal deep things about yourself to them.
2. Once I take the step of faith to be vulnerable I find freedom to let go of many of my fears – I find freedom.
3. It is still hard – The enemy does not want me to become like Jesus.
4. It leads me to be more gracious and experience grace on a deeper level.
1. Be completely honest with God about yourself
2. Pray for a commitment to genuine humility
3. Identify a person or people in your community that you trust the most.
4. Invite them to look at and listen to what is going on in your life.
5. Allow them to enter into the real battle for your walk with God by telling them the real “struggles” of your life.
6. Keep the focus on the glory of God in your life and not the struggle.