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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Disciple's Self Concept, Part 1

Edward F. Lundwall Jr.

"Six months after you got married; and you haven't changed your name or address yet?!"

"You'll have to show me more than your marriage certificate!"

From the lack of life style change, the questioner perceived that the lady has not changed her self concept. Being a wife has not yet become the way she thinks of herself. In her thinking patterns she was still single. How many marriages have failed because the partners have not adopted self concepts from God's Word. They just don't know how to picture themselves in this role.

As a changed self concept is crucial to marriage, so it is critical to becoming a progressing disciple. The purpose of making disciples is to change disciples' lives (Matt 28:20; 10:1--3, 39). Why is the disciple's self concept so important? How does it function in changing one's life? Self concept assumes its importance by internalizing motivation. Therefore, it is a critical priority in discipling relationships. Can SUSTAINED CHANGE occur without embracing the disciple's self concept? Without growing in the soil of a disciple's self concept, will one's life produce, abundant mature fruit (John 15:1–8) or only a few green apples (Luke 8:14)?

A teacher of a well, known disciple making organization interrupted his lecture with a confession. He confessed that he didn't understand why many of his students did not sign up for sequential courses. They said that they benefitted from his basic course! Further discussion indicated that he had neglected leading his students to adopt a disciple's self concept. He had enriched them spiritually, but had not motivated them to live as disciples. Like the new bride's husband, he hadn't led them to change their self concept. Their class was like a passionate kiss without culminating in a working marriage.

Definition: What, then, is a self concept? 
A person's self concept is WHAT he thinks of himself in his life's roles, i.e. his self portrait in the center of his circumstances.

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