Jesus helped his listeners and disciples to look at obedience to God in fresh ways. In Matthew 5:40 just before telling them to love their enemies, Jesus said, “And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two.” That picture was likely a shock to most who heard Jesus. It would lead them to ask why and then to apply it in many situations in life. Jesus in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) tell us how to make disciples (1) baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and (2) teach them to observe everything Jesus commanded. We can help our disciples to obey Him in their lives with some simple practices during our discipling time with them. This can work whether we are discipling one-on-one, in a D-group (2-4 disciples), or a small group.
Observe Everything Practices
- Teach. Study God’s Word together. Help your disciples understand the truth in the original context and then apply it to life today and to their unique contexts. They will have difficulty observing everything if they do not understand.
- Demonstrate. Two things are important here. Demonstrate why application of the truth is important and how to practice the truth. Without understanding “why” your disciple may not want to “observe everything” related to the passage considered. “How” may be demonstrated through a story, through a role play, through an application conversation, etc.
- Practice. If your disciple does not practice the truth in your discipling session, he/she may not practice it between sessions. Practice can be simple. It is not likely to be perfect, but it is a step toward understanding.
- Assign. Each session together, give your disciple an assignment to live out the truth between sessions. This is his/her opportunity to practice “observing” in real life.
- Report. Keep in mind that there will be less forgetfulness about the assignment if the disciple knows there will be a report time.
Ultimately what we want our disciples to know is that a daily relationship with our Lord is lived out by being in His Word and as we walk through life daily. Don’t make it complicated. In fact, I find these practices actually help me to think and communicate about God’s Word more clearly. They help me connect my relationship with Him to my world.
Do your disciples understand the Word but fail to do anything with that understanding? Do they lack an understanding of “why” obedience is essential? Are they struggling because they need help thinking through possible ways to live out the truth?
While I recommend all five practices, I would encourage you to add one practice to your discipling this week or month. Which would you add? Why did you choose that one? Which practice would you add next? Adjust your practices to help your disciples live obediently. Make disciples!