Over the last 16 years, one of the most powerful discipleship tools the Lord has used in my life to transform me and make me more like Him is a comrade-in-arms partnership. If you’re not familiar with what a comrade in arms relationship looks like, I encourage you to read the little book Comrades in Arms—The Power of Pursuing Christ in the Company of Other Men. You can either download the free pdf, or purchase the paperback.
In short, a comrade in arms is a spiritual partnership, or a discipling relationship between two or more same gender followers of Christ in which they mutually “spur one another” toward deeper relationship with Christ. A comrade-in-arms relationship is mutual and reciprocal, unlike mentoring.
With the BIG CHALLENGE, we’re asking you to consider stepping into a comrade-in-arms relationship with another person of the same gender.
4 Reasons Comrades in Arms Are So Effective
A comrade-in-arms relationship is so powerful in helping us grow in Christ because:
- We become like those with whom we spend time
- They are a biblical model for life change
- The nature of the changes God wants to bring about in us are chiefly relational
- They provide needed accountability and protection
5 Characteristics of a Comrade in Arms
- You meet regularly with someone of the same gender to pursue deeper relationship with Jesus Christ
- You spend time together in real life
- You love and care for each other
- You challenge each other boldly from God’s Word
- You pray with and for each other
What Do We Do When We Meet?
You can glean a lot from the above characteristics of a comrade in arms in terms of what you do when you meet. I typically meet weekly with my comrade in arms. That way it’s on our calendars and we rarely miss a meeting. Here are some other things we do when we meet each week:
- We share with each other what God has been doing in our lives
- We talk to each other about any struggles or challenges we’re facing
- We pray with each other
- We challenge each other to follow Jesus in very practical ways.
One of the best ways I’ve found to challenge one another to follow Jesus is by asking powerful, open-ended questions. (An open-ended question is one that cannot be answered with “yes,” or “no.”) Here are some examples of some powerful, open-ended questions:
- What is God doing in your life right now?
- What has God been showing you from His Word lately?
- What one thing in your life would you like to see Christ change?
- In what ways are you leading your wife into deeper relationship with Christ?
- What one thing in your life is preventing you from enjoying God fully?
- In what ways is God using you to model Christlikeness before others?
From time to time, you and your comrade in arms may choose to go through a Bible read-thru, a book, or a curriculum. I provide you with many such resources on SkillsforFollowingJesus.com. You could also discuss the content of one of the blog articles or podcasts on the website. But remember:
- The chief goal of discipleship is to spur one another into deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.
- The way we do that is by representing Christ to others through our life and words.
As a result, we want to cultivate Christlike character in each other. We do that through the power of the Holy Spirit and by “training ourselves to be godly” (1 Timothy 4:7). The word “training” in the original language is the word from which we get the words “gymnasium” and “gymnastics.” The word means “to exercise vigorously.”
Think of your comrade in arms meetings like a cross-fit workout! You don’t come together just to “shoot the breeze.” Of course, you can make small talk as you get going. You want to be real and talk about whatever is going on in your lives. But you always want to “spur each other” toward deeper relationship with Christ.
We want to live fully integrated lives in Christ. That means that you’ll naturally talk about your marriage and family, your job, your church, and any other relationships or areas of your life. We want to bring all facets of our lives under the leadership of Christ.
Where Do You Meet?
Meet with your comrade in arms wherever makes sense. I’ve met with my comrade in arms: hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, boating, in coffee shops, in restaurants, in his or my home, on vacation, at church, etc.
When you read the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) you see Jesus meeting with His disciples in all sorts of places: on very long walks between Nazareth or Capernaum and Jerusalem (about a 70-mile hike!); Jesus also spent a lot of time in a boat with His disciples; they climbed mountains; met in public gardens; visited synagogues; spent time in the temple together; and visited many homes.
A man whom I greatly respect for his relationship with Jesus and his family, and his career accomplishments told me recently that he learned more as a disciple of Jesus while hiking with me than he ever did in one of the classes I facilitated! What I’m trying to communicate here is that your comrade-in-arms, discipling relationship does not have to be a formal study or arrangement. Meet with each other in real life and let Christ impact every area of your lives.
©2018 Rob Fischer