Everyone serving Jesus is called to both become and help make disciples. This is the Great Commission. Matthew 28:19-20 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, (20) teaching them to observe (put into practice) all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always.
Becoming and making disciples of the Lord is different than making decisions for the Lord. It is more than simply deciding to believe that Jesus died for our sins. Even the demons believe that (James 2:19). Disciples are those who follow Jesus and are learning to obey (put into practice) His word in every area of their lives. Discipleship isn’t simply gaining information about Jesus but learning how to put into practice all that He said in our everyday life.
How can we really do that in the midst of lives that are already too busy? We live in a fast-paced world where we can hardly find time for God or our families. We can barely get everything done before collapsing in bed at the end of an overwhelming day.
It is helpful to consider the way Jesus did it. Making disciples wasn’t a program. Discipleship was a relational way of living. His grand strategy was simple. In the course of living everyday life and facing everyday situations, He modeled, taught, spoke about the Kingdom, and helped shape God’s life in the people who were around Him. As he shared life with them God’s word rubbed off on those who followed Him. Unplanned events were often Diving opportunities to learn how God’s Kingdom works in everyday life.
Jesus’ strategy for discipleship wasn’t classroom or curriculum-based, it was relational based.
American Christianity often thinks of discipleship in terms of programs (“Discipleship Training Night, Discipleship Class, Discipleship Huddle Groups etc.), but Jesus did it in the midst of everyday life. Mark 3:14 And He ordained twelve, that they should be with Him, and that He might send them out. Jesus’ strategy for discipleship wasn’t classroom or curriculum-based, it was relational based. It was mostly unplanned opportunities that came up in the everyday rhythms of life that became the impetus for “teaching them to obey” God’s commands.Jesus' strategy for discipleship wasn't classroom or curriculum-based, it was relational based. Click To Tweet
Here are some important things to keep in mind so we don’t see discipleship as a program or another busy chore in the midst of lives that are too busy.
- Opportunities for discipleship are everywhere and anytime.
The way Jesus lived among His disciples included both planned and unplanned opportunities for discipleship. In the course of everyday life serving God together, unplanned people and events came along and Jesus was able to bring God’s Kingdom perspective in them.
- Discipleship is relational.
People aren’t projects they are friends. Discipleship is about helping our friends learn to follow and obey what Jesus said. It takes living life among people. It is about being who we are and showing the Kingdom perspective in every area of life.
- Include people in your everyday life.
It is having people join you, or you join them in real life stuff instead of just a meeting or a program. The best way to help people put into practice His word in everyday life is to have examples from everyday life. If you have to run an errand or work on something around the house include people in it. If you have to go serve someone take them with you.
- To learn how to obey Jesus in real life we have to live real life.
We aren’t rushing off to a discipleship class or program. It is people being around us in the course of real life. It is where people see our successes, failures, and responses to challenges in the everyday life of being a husband, wife, son, daughter, employee, and steward of our resources. Learning how to confess sins, repent, and restore relationships when we falter is an important part of discipleship. I like how Jesus said in Matthew 11. The MSG translation uses the term “unforced rhythms of grace.” This takes the pressure off in the midst of busyness. Mt 11:28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
- Learn how to work from rest, not always striving to rest from work.
When we work from rest we actually find life in God’s work. This is how Jesus, in the midst of physical exhaustion, engaged with the woman at the well and found God’s life in the midst of it. Out of rest He joined the Father in His work finding fresh life to which He replied to His disciples when they returned from getting food for Him, John 4:34 Jesus *said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work. We actually gain life when we work with what God is doing instead of feeling a burden of trying to produce it ourselves.
If we approach discipleship from a place of rest then it isn’t more work we need to do. It is a life-giving thing we get to do. Hebrews 4:10-11 For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. (11) Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest.
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