Are You Equipped for Discipleship?

Do you have an equipment issue?

A friend and I once co-created a phrase that I’ve always found to hold true when facing a challenge: “It’s an equipment issue. And if you have the right equipment, you won’t have an issue.”

The thought came to us during a hot summer camping trip. We were sitting in our beat-up lawn chairs outside our hand-me-down tents, when we noticed an impressive camper pulling into a nearby site. It had bikes on the back. It had a satellite on the top. The owner soon unfurled a canopy that provided shade, and fans that produced a breeze. It had all the comforts of home. In other words, it had the right equipment, so the owners had no issues (at least when it came to comfort).

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I recalled this little truism again this week while hanging a new swing from a tree by our home. The first tree didn’t work out too well, so I was moving it to another that’s on the vacant, tree-covered lot next to our house. This tree was perfect, except for one thing: It had given root to a small but pretty tall tree at its base that was growing at an angle so that the top of it was directly under the limb from which I wanted to hang the swing.

So, the first order of business was to cut down this tree, which was, oh, maybe 6-8 inches in diameter. Since my chainsaw was in need of minor repairs, I was using a bow saw. It took a little effort, but down came the tree.

Next problem: That sucker was heavy and its branches were getting hung up in the brush when I tried to move it. After a few failed attempts to drag it away, I decided to cut it into smaller chunks. In the process, I broke my saw blade. After a few more failed attempts to drag it off, I used some heavy-duty loppers to cut away some branches and lightened the load enough so that I could move it.

In short, what would have taken me five minutes with a chainsaw took me about 25 minutes with equipment that wasn’t made for this particular job.

It doesn’t matter if you’re cutting a tree or climbing Mt. Everest, it pays to use the right equipment. And the same is true in discipleship.

If I want to grow like Jesus and help others grow like Jesus, then I can’t use loppers when I need a chainsaw. I have to put on the armor of God and prepare for the challenges I face. I have to read God’s Word and open my heart to revelations from God. I have to listen to godly pastors who teach truth. I have to act on the promptings of the Spirit. I have seek and heed the godly counsel my wife provides. I have to invest in the things that equip me for the life God has given me. And if I use the right equipment, there is no issue.

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