Many new Christians today remind me of when I was a small lad. My mother would see that I was bathed and dressed to make a special trip. When she finished she would say, "Don't do any thing to get dirty before we leave. If you do I will paddle your behind."
Most of the time I followed her advice, but sometimes I slipped. I can remember times that it had rained during the night and the next day there would be mud puddles in our yard. I'm sure you know boys and mud puddles. After being cleaned up mom would warn me and I would go outside. I would get a stick and get as close to the mud puddle as I could without getting any on me or my clothes. I wasn't always successful and I received the promised consequences.
"For they (false teachers) mouth empty boastful words and by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning." (2 Peter 2: 18 & 20 NIV)
I have seen this happen in the lives of a number of new believers. Once they come to have a personal relationship with Christ they try to walk as close to the world as they can without getting any of it on them. Very seldom are they successful and I speak from personal experience.
We are warned in 2 Peter 2: 17-21 that a new believer is open prey to the things of the world and those who would seduce a new believer back into the old lifestyle. The baby/new Christian is not equipped to deal with this on their own. The scriptures state they are worse off then than before. One of the instructions Christ gave to Peter was to use the maturity that came from personal spiritual struggles to strengthen his brothers.
When I was in Chile I was asked to define discipleship in my own words. My definition is made up of what I have heard listening to several experienced "Pauls." My answer was as follows. Discipleship is taking a new believer by the hand to encourage, strengthen and guide as I follow Jesus Christ. I do this until they are spiritually mature enough to follow on their own and can take a new believer with them.
I believe that every mature and growing believer has a responsibility to each new believer God puts in our life. We may not be the one who disciples, but we still have a part in that persons spiritual growth. If God only gives us a small window of opportunity to impact a new believer He expects us to do our very best. Too many times Christians say, "I'm involved in other areas, It's not my job." Is it not? Its something to think about.
N.D. Kennedy Sr.