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How do you know?

Heart for Lebanon’s mission is to make “disciples,” and we have taken this directly from Matthew 28:19 which is referred to as the Great Commission. Depending on who you ask, you will find a wide variety of interpretations regarding what it means to “make disciples.” Many today understand it as a command to just evangelize the world.

Jesus’ words emphasize not the moment of salvation but the lifetime of sanctification that follows. His instructions go beyond just spreading the gospel. The verb translated as “make disciples’ carries a deeper meaning than simply accumulating converts. It communicates the idea of a learning follower—someone who continues growing in their faith and in their love for the Lord.

As defined by Christ’s command to His disciples, the purpose of Heart for Lebanon is to make learning followers—men and women whose lives reflect a deep commitment to and love for the Lord, His Word, and His people. A person who has the desire to affect or influence people in all nations as God directs them.

This is a main reason why we at Heart for Lebanon do not count salvation decisions. It’s also the reason we look for behavior changes.

What are those behavior changes we notice in a person?

A Christ follower will have the behaviors of…

(This list is not in any specific order, nor is it an exclusive list.)

  1. An overarching life change:

Jesus’ words in Matthew 28:19 emphasize not the moment of salvation but the lifetime of sanctification that follows. He made the same point in John 8:31 when He said, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine.” It’s the difference between a one-time profession of faith and a lifetime of spiritual growth and increasing godliness.

John puts it this way, “If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him”.  (1 John 2:29) There is a behavior change; this desire to do what is right. It’s a process that shows, over time, someone desires to do what is right.

  2. They become compassionate:

They begin to love one another. (1 John 2: 5, 6 & 9,10)

“”But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.

“”Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness.  Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.”

3. They will experience a certain level of conflict:

This might seem strange to say, however being truly saved will bring a level of conflict into one’s life.

When someone is genuinely born of God, they will be growing to be an overcomer as they begin to deal with the temptations around them. They will not be victorious over every temptation every time, but they will make progress in gaining more victories and losing less battles as they grow stronger in Christ and in the power of the abiding Word of God.

“”For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith”.  (1 John 5:4)

4. Their conduct will change:

We can see evidence of salvation in their desire to conduct themselves in a way that pleases God. They begin to treat people with respect and with dignity.

No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God.” (1 John 3:9)

John sums it up best when he says, “”This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.”   (1 John: 3:10)

 

Comments or questions?  Please contact Tom Atema, Co-Founder of heart for Lebanon.
Tom.Atema@HeartforLebanon.org