Philippians 2:22 (NLT) But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel.
Everything in life is learned, good or bad and it is the same with happiness. Carrying joy in your life is something you have to learn to do, it is not based on luck. And most things we learn, good or bad, are learned from other people, whether family, colleagues or church members.
Some things need to be unlearned, like reacting negatively to bad news by either becoming fearful, argumentative or self-destructive. And the way to unlearn bad habits is by learning new habits. Science calls this neuroplasticity and the Bible also teaches this (Romans 12:2).
The Apostle Paul uses Timothy as a great illustration of someone that learned great habits.
Paul says“you know that Timothy has proved himself.” Timothy became a man that God could use because He demonstrated an ability to learn new habits. He disciplined himself where he was no longer living according to his fleshly desires or self-interest, and lived according to his spirit-man and the interests of God.
But the key was how. He learned these from someone else – Paul.
“As a son with his father he has served me…”. Timothy was like a son to Paul. He submitted himself to the leadership and coaching of a senior man of God and the outcome was he became someone that God could use.
This is the key to discipleship – it is coming under the training and teaching of someone who is your senior. You do what they do.
Paul was a praying man, someone who was devoted to the work of God and the Word of God. Timothy became the same kind of man by simply doing what Paul did and followed Paul.
Who are you being discipled by? Who are you learning from? Do you discipline yourself to be like them? Do you do what they do? Do you listen when they speak into your life either directly or through the teaching of God’s Word?
This is how Discipleship works:
–> “It is people following leaders who follow pastors who are following senior pastors and so on…”
The key is someone always needs to submit themselves to following someone who has gone before them. If you are not following someone or allowing someone to speak into your life, you are not being discipled.
Paul said of Timothy “he brings great joy to others…” – that's because he learned how to be joyful from Paul.
Find someone who can speak into your life. That person needs to have someone who is leading them. Once this structure is in place, discipleship begins to take place.