ARE YOU A D.U.D.?
(disciple under developed)
Every person that becomes a Christian by obeying the gospel wants to obey God and be pleasing to him. However many become like the two soils Jesus mentioned in the following parable:
Matthew 13:18 " Therefore hear the parable of the sower:† 19 "When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside.† 20 "But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy;† 21 "yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.† 22 "Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.† 23 "But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty."
The two soils I am referring to is the stony soil and the thorny soil. Unfortunately, many people have become Christians and like the idea of what Christianity stands for, but they did not really count the cost of discipleship. As Jesus said:
Luke 14:27 "And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.† 28 "For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it -- ††29 "lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him,† 30 "saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish.'† 31 "Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand?† 32 "Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace.† 33 "So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.
Any Christian that has read their Bibles are taught that they must grow as Christians and get involved in the Lordís kingdom, but sadly, many do not. Some of these Christians will eventually leave the church and God. But not all will leave. Some will remain in the fold and they continue to be disciple under developed. The last thing we should want is to be is D.U.D. because if we are not laboring in Godís kingdom and we are not growing, then we are not going to be pleasing to God. As the writer of Hebrews said:
Hebrews 5:12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.† 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe.† 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.†
To help you to determine if you are D.U.D. I am going to give you test, so that you can see if you are exhibiting signs of being D.U.D.
IF you answered this question as true, then your attitude is leaning more toward being selfish because you are more concerned about what you get out of it than what you can put into it. We need to have the attitude that Jesus had because He did not come to be served, but to serve (Mt. 20:28).
†If everyone one had the attitude of caring more about what the church has to offer, then there would be no programs or fellowship opportunities because someone would always be waiting for someone else to do something. The only way anything gets done is through volunteers who have a commitment to their Lord and to the well-being of the church. By working together, we make the body function as it should as Paul explained:
1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body -- whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free -- and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.† 14 For in fact the body is not one member but many.† 15 If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body," is it therefore not of the body?† 16 And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body," is it therefore not of the body?† 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling?† 18 But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased.† 19 And if they were all one member, where would the body be?† 20 But now indeed there are many members, yet one body.† 21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you"; nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you."† 22 No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary.† 23 And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty,† 24 but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it,† 25 that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another.† 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.† 27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.
If you are not getting involved in the Lordís kingdom and you want to take, instead of giving of yourself and your abilities, then you just might be a D.U.D.
If everyone has this attitude, then the larger churches will continue to get bigger and the smaller churches will continue to get smaller. I know that it can be challenging for children when they do not have many their own age, but think about this. If you keep your kids in a smaller church, you could make it possible for the next family that comes that has children to want to be part of the smaller church instead of running off the larger churches. If no one takes the first step to build up the youth population, how will it ever y happen?
Your family could become a catalyst for growth in the church instead of a disappointment when you leave for greener pastures. Smaller congregations like ours needs our youth to stay and help build the church and make it stronger. Otherwise, smaller churches like ours will continue to shrink and get to the point where there is not funds available to keep the doors open. Again this second questions, goes hand and hand with our first question because it falls in the line with the attitude what can the church do for me, instead of what can do for the church.
If you answered this question false, then understand that you are not helping the church at all. Now there is nothing wrong with constructive criticism, but if you are the type that is constantly taking someone to the side and venting or complaining about the singing, the sermon, or someoneís prayer, then you are being a D.U.D. When you do things like this nothing good comes from it. Either your negativity will spread or you will make others think badly of you because no one likes to spend time or be around those who are constantly belittling others.
Instead of being negative, we need to focus on the positive. We should all work on being encouragers. When is last time you thanked one of the men that were leading in the worship service? When is last time you told one of the elders that you appreciate the role they have taken in the church? When is last time you have thanked the Bible class teacher that teaches your children? We can do a lot more good in the church with a kind word than talking about people behind their backs.
If you answered true, why do you suppose that is the case? Have you tried to reach out to others, or do you just expect them to come to you? Have you tried to calling or visiting some of your brethren and giving the words of encouragement? Have you prepared meals for the sick or visited a sick member in the hospital? Have asked yourself why you expect to receive kindness if you have never shown any:
Proverbs 18:24 A man who has friends must himself be friendly
There is another side to this because sometimes an individual does all things I mentioned above, but they cannot seem to develop friendships within a church. When that the case the fault does not lie with the individual, but the members of the church.
We have to be careful in the church that we donít exclude everyone from our group of friends. Now there certainly nothing wrong with having tightly nit group of friends or family members even Jesus had His inner circle of friends, but He did not exclude everyone else. It easy for us to talk to the same people all the time and just barely breath a word to someone else, but we should not be like that because we are all part of the family of God.
We should make an effort to talk to others and make friends with them. We should stop forming clicks and excluding others. If you will make an effort to reach out to others, you may find you another friend that will because part of your inner circle. We must never forget what Jesus said:
John 13:34 "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.† 35 "By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."
If you answer true, that is wonderful because that is exactly what should be doing, but if you answered false than you are a D.U.D. and you need to do something about it. I do not think that many realize that they are being a negative influence when the choose not to come to worship or Bible class. Your absence can have negative effect on others. People should not have to leave worship every week wondering were brother absent and sister sluggish are.
Your lack of attendance also causes more stress to the eldership because:
Hebrews 13:17 Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.
The elders are supposed to have joy in serving as an elder, but the more you waiver in your attendance, the more grief it will cause them because they must give an account for all the souls that they shepherd. If they were discussion your absence, would they be saying, we better call him right away because he never misses, or would they say this is third time this week, or would they say what else is new?
You have to determine if you are going to be asset to the church or a liability. You donít have to be a disciple under developed. Instead you can become a disciple that under development. I can promise, that if you not growing as a Christian then you will not be pleasing to God because Peter said:
2 Peter 3:18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
We must remind ourselves that when we became disciples of Christ, that we made the commitment to serve Him and follow His teachings. That is what a disciple is, one who follows the teaching of another. Jesus also tells a more about being a disciple in:
Matthew 10:24 "A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master.† 25 "It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master.
As disciples of Christ, we can not allow our opinions or personal judgments come before our master teaching as found in the New Testament. We must never forget that Jesus will always be wiser than we are. So, when we find that Bible teaches us to do something that we have not been doing or teaches us stop doing something we have been doing, then we need to make a change and not disagree with God.
Another mark of disciple that is not a D.U.D is one that continues in the Word of God:
John 8:31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.† 32 "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
The word abide means to continue in Godís Word. Someone who learns enough Bible to become a Christian and then stops learning is not true disciple of Christ. God does not want people who casually interested in His Word, He wants those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. It would be impossible to call yourself a disciple of Christ if you do not know His Word because can follow what you do not know? You cannot! There are no shortcuts to spiritual growth, we can have infomercial mentality that we can get to heaven by some way that requires little effort from us. If that were true, why would Jesus say that the road the leads to heaven is a difficult one or why would the Bible teach us to endure and grow?
Another mark of a disciple that is D.U.D is one that assemblies with saints every opportunity he has. We are commanded to assemble in Heb. 10:25 and besides what better place could true disciple of Christ want to be. Not only do we get to form the body of Christ that He purchased with His own blood, we get to learn more about God from the sermons that are preached and we can also learn a great deal about His Word from our Bible classes.
Another mark of a disciple that is not D.U.D. is one that shows love for his brethren. While this love can be shown in many ways, one way that can be shown is by assembling with the saints and getting involved in church fellowships. Many times those who willfully miss the services to do secular things or just to rest miss out on some important information such as those who are sick or even those who have had something great happen to them. Have you found yourself being the last to know something important about someone because you chose not attend the services? I have known some who had no idea that someone has passed away, and they might ask where the deceased person the next time they decide to come to the services.
You cannot exercise the proper love and care for your brethren if you willfully choose not to be with them when the assemble.
One final mark of a disciple that is not D.U.D. is one that is willing to work for the Lord. Jesus said:
John 15:8 "By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
Bearing fruit for the Lord does not happen by accident, it happens by someone making an effort to do so. The fruit Jesus is talking about can only come from spreading the Masterís teaching. When you plant the seed of Godís Word is the heart of others it can convert people and create new disciples of Christ, but this usually does not come from you words only, but from your actions as well. We know that our Father wants everyone to choose to be saved and He wants everyone exposed to His truth, so we cannot afford to be lukewarm in our Christian lives. We must do our best to walk as closely to God as we can.
If you have found that you are a D.U.D. this morning, I hope you will choose today to start growing in Christ and to start getting busy in His kingdom because I promise you that hell is just as much of reality as when you first believed and God wants you to make it to heaven so renew your commitment to serving the Lord today.