Too many people have been “babied” in their discipleship, to the point that they have become nearly disabled spiritually. As a result, they accept without question a faith that promises freedom and abundance in Jesus, and yet they never seem to notice how they remain imprisoned, especially in unbiblical ways of relating to themselves and others. They shrug their shoulders as if to say, “It’s useless. I can’t do anything about that. It’s just the way I am.”

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question: What are the beneath-the-surface failures that undermine deep discipleship and keep people from becoming spiritually mature?

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I’ve become convinced that implementing a robust and in-depth discipleship for our people requires that we address at least four fundamental failures: 1. We tolerate emotional immaturity. 2. We emphasize doing for God over being with God. 3. We ignore the treasures of church history. 4. We define success wrongly.

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In other words, if those around us consistently experience us as unapproachable, cold, unsafe, defensive, rigid, or judgmental, Scripture declares us spiritually immature.

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For Jesus, enemies were not interruptions to the spiritual life, but often the very means by which we might experience deeper communion with God. That is one of the reasons he issued stern warnings such as, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged” (Matthew 7:1).5 Jesus knew how easy it would be for us to avoid the difficult work of loving people.

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In their book The Cry of the Soul, psychologist Dan Allender and theologian Tremper Longman III describe it this way: Ignoring our emotions is turning our back on reality; listening to our emotions ushers us into reality. And reality is where we meet God . . . Emotions are the language of the soul. They are the cry that gives the heart a voice. . . . However, we often turn a deaf ear—through emotional denial, distortion, or disengagement. . . . In neglecting our intense emotions, we are false to ourselves and lose a wonderful opportunity to know God.

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Success, according to Scripture, is becoming the person God calls you to become, and doing what God calls you to do–in his way, and according to his timetable. What this means is that it is possible for a ministry or organization to be growing numerically and yet actually failing. And that your ministry and numbers may be declining and yet actually be succeeding! — Emotionally Healthy Discipleship: Moving from Shallow Christianity to Deep Transformation, Peter Scazzero

We have just released a new Bible Study on the topic of Emotionally Healthy Discipleship.

These lessons are available on Amazon, as well as a part of Good Questions Have Groups Talking Subscription Service. Like Netflix for Bible Lessons, one low subscription gives you access to all our lessons–thousands of them. For a medium-sized church, lessons are as little as $10 per teacher per year.

Each lesson consists of 20 or so ready-to-use questions that get groups talking. Answers are provided in the form of quotes from respected authors such as John Piper, Max Lucado and Beth Moore.

These lessons will save you time as well as provide deep insights from some of the great writers and thinkers from today and generations past. I also include quotes from the same commentaries that your pastor uses in sermon preparation.

Ultimately, the goal is to create conversations that change lives.