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  • Joel Riehle

Swearing in French


I overestimate my abilities sometimes. The January before a Summer trip to Paris I downloaded a language app. I wanted to be semi-fluent while I was there. And my 4 years of high school Spanish weren’t very helpful. When others would pull out their phone to kill time with Facebook I would complete a 5 min DuoLingo lesson. I gave up around April when I realized that I couldn’t say a single compound sentence and our departure was only weeks away. My time had not been completely wasted though.

I have some very extended family who are Parisians. We spent one night at their house outside the city and we sat around the dinner table speaking in English. They were were amused at my feeble attempts at their lovely language. But they really got rolling when I was pointing out the few things around the yard that I knew in French. I saw a tree, cheese on the table, and a cat. Hystreria erupted. It was a full minute before they regained their composure to communicate that the mispronunciation of cat turned it into a dirty word. One they did not expect from their new minister friend.

Bill Hull addresses the definition of discipleship often by saying that, “We may be using the same words, but we are speaking a different language.” (The False Promise of Discipleship)

And in the opening the first annual National Discipleship Forum, Jim Putman warned all in the audience of the tricks of our enemy.

"Satan doesn't mind if we keep our words as long as he can change the meaning. We can say we love each other. He just tells us that love is a feeling. He doesn't mind if we say we have faith in Jesus. He just changes that to mean an intellectual belief that has nothing to do with obedience. He doesn't mind if we go to church as long as that means attending a service rather than a gathering and a sending of the saints."

And Satan doesn't care if we do discipleship as long as it is just a small group that begins and ends on a day of the week. Or as long as our discipleship means just growing in Jesus.

This is important so that you don’t mistake facets of the Christian life like Bible study or spiritual growth or prayer with the all-consuming breadth of the Great Commission. All of these things that we know we should do ARE good. But they are only good as part of following Jesus in disciple-making.

If treat these Christian activities as a to-do list rather than a part of an organic and authentic life dedicated to living like Jesus then it's like you're gathering the ingredients to make a cake but leaving them sit separately on the table.

Call it what you want in whatever language you want…but beg God to show you how to do it. Cause discipleship is the purpose and the perfection of this life and the enemy will do whatever it takes to distract, disorient, and destroy that in our country, in our churches and in our lives.

And check us out Friday when we cover strategies and resources that will help you.


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