Hindrances to Discipleship

We’ve been invited.

Invited to a feast, a banquet of epic proportions, to celebrate the greatness of this God who redeemed us from our sin and separation from Him. The festivities have begun and the appetizers are being served so we can taste and see that the Master of Ceremonies is indeed as good as He claims, but we’re not yet to the main celebration.

No, the doors to this eternal marriage supper have yet to fling open and we haven’t been granted full entrance to the reception, but until then we’ve been issued a divine edict and a high privilege.

We get to deliver party invitations to others.

Before He ascended, Jesus gave His people the command to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:18-20).

A few days later, His Spirit exploded on the scene and His followers were given power and authority to bring as many people as possible to the party that will (literally) end all parties.

Jesus enlisted us in this amazing mission, giving the command and the ability to carry it out. What could possibly keep us from joyfully obeying?

Well, as it turns out, lots of things.

Let’s look at four hindrances to the Great Commission.


When the Gospel is nothing more than a list of facts, we won’t see the need to participate in the mission. We might not even realize or remember the mission is for us.

Do we remember what we’ve been rescued from? Do we remember how Jesus came to us at our darkest and spoke light into our self-built cave of sin and shame?

Not remembering, not having our lives saturated in the truth that saved us, will hinder us from fulfilling Jesus’ command because the importance and urgency will be drowned out by our day-to-day routines.

When we don’t know the Gospel for ourselves and we forget what Jesus has done for us, there is little to no motivation to get into the messes of others in order to snatch them from the fire (Jude 23). But when we remember how Jesus laid aside His dignity and got into our miry pit to lift us out, it propels us to do the same for others so they can know the hope and rescue we’ve been given.


This life on life stuff is no joke.

Discipleship, as Jesus defined and demonstrated, takes work. It would be so much easier to do other things (or nothing) rather than invest in others for the long haul, but Jesus didn’t rescue us from the wrath of God to give us an easy life.

Running the race, fighting the fight of faith, waging war on sin, and pouring our lives into others are action verbs for a reason. When Christ saves us, He doesn’t call us to a passive existence but to an abundant life of activity where we forcefully discard self-gratification (including our inclinations to laziness) and intentionally pursue holiness.

Laziness sets in when we forget that extending party invitations is a joy and privilege, not a depressing duty from a harsh taskmaster. When we remember what the Gospel has done for us and called us to, we will be willing to lay aside our desire for ease and comfort and actively pursue Christ and others for His glory.


“What do you have to offer anyone?”
“You don’t know enough.”
“You’re not equipped for ‘ministry.’”
“If people spend time with you, they’ll see you’re not as holy as you claim to be.”

The lies rattle in our brains with compelling force. And you can be sure of this: Where two or more lies are gathered, fear is there in the midst of them.

Fear hinders disciple making because it’s an anesthetic, a potent tranquilizer that numbs us to our responsibilities and to the truth that God has called, equipped, and will continue to equip us to fulfill His mission.

But fear can also serve us because it exposes where our dependence is.

Fear arises when we imagine everything depends on us. –Elisabeth Elliot

When dependence is on what we can do not what God can do through a jar of clay yielded to Him, our hearts will be tossed to and fro by the turbulent fears. But when we remember the Lord is the One who chose us and has provided all things that pertain to life and godliness, which includes providing the grace necessary to make disciples who make disciples, confidence rises and action will be taken.

Do you believe that when God saved you, He gave you everything you needed for this situation? Your life will reveal what you believe.

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