Discipleship Truth: God gave His Word to transform the way believers live. Knowing Bible truths is only the first step toward godliness. That head-knowledge must lead to life-change. James describes believers who know the truth but who do not act on it—“self-deluded” (James 1:22).
True Story: When I served as a lead camp counselor, truths from 1 Peter 4:8-11 came alive to me—and the entire staff. Loving, serving, and ministering to kids brought many opportunities to apply Peter’s crucial admonition. I shared this entire passage with each new batch of counselors.
These words crowned the rest, “Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.” Working in close quarters with the same team for three months provided many opportunities to test “love covering a multitude of sins.”
One afternoon my frustration reached its zenith. My co-lead had disregarded my suggestions for the upcoming game in our pre-meeting, interrupted me twice during the introduction to the game, and corrected me on a referee call during the game’s biggest play—in front of 200 kids—making me look like the bad guy. I was the veteran, and he was new. Those interactions played to a bigger conflict we’d experienced all summer. We seemed to be locked in a power struggle. Right after the game, I headed to the nightly devotional meeting with five other counselors. As I often did at the beginning of the week with my new weekly batch of leaders, I read 1 Peter 4:8-11.
As I read the passage, the sweet conviction of the Lord pricked my heart. Did I love my co-lead well, and with honor? Was I allowing that love to cover over these trivial disagreements? Was I communicating directly and kindly what I needed, or was I more worried about winning the power struggle? I repented to the Lord for my attitude and prayed for strength to obey God’s Word.
After taking a deep breath, I approached my co-lead and shared my heart. I affirmed his leadership skills and pointed out the poor dynamic we had going. I upheld his value to the team and asked for more kindness in his approach to communication—what I needed. I did not want this silly power struggle to continue any longer! After that, our relationship changed—slowly but surely. As we continued to build our friendship and work through leadership differences, we learned how to avoid stepping on each other’s toes.
I knew I could not just share the same verse with my counselors, and not apply it myself: “Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.”
Action Step: Kids quickly differentiate holiness from hypocrisy. They discriminate between empty words and heartfelt actions. Integrate God’s Word into your daily routine. Each time you read the Bible, DO something! Look for S-P-A-C-E:
S — Sins to Confess (Look for wrong things you may have done. Confess these to God.)
P — Promises to Claim (Look for promises you can live by. Thank God for each one.)
A — Attitudes to Adjust (Look for ways to change your attitude to God’s point-of-view.)
C — Commands to Obey (Look for what God says to do—or not to do. Decide to obey today.)
E — Examples to Follow (Look for ways to follow the footsteps of people who love God.)
Portions of this article taken from the ABCs of Family Discipleship booklet, available here