Jesus said to his first followers; “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you.” To be a disciple of Jesus means we’re learning to obey his commands each day of our lives. None of us are doing this fully, but the process of discipleship is undeniably to at least be growing in becoming more and more like Him. The aim of each Christian should be to live surrendered to Christ, trusting that His words are truth and that what he has planned is ultimately better for us than what we might have once planned out for ourselves.
As I was preparing to speak on being teachable, this passage came to mind. Because I’ve been part of the church for a long time it’s easy for me to read this verse and ask the question, “Okay.. Am I actually teaching anyone to observe the things Jesus commanded? Could I make a list of names? Am I doing what Jesus called his followers to do?” But then the logical thought process leads to even more sobering questions like, “Am I learning to obey Jesus?” “Do I live a life, that at least in some ways could model for others what it looks like to follow Jesus?”
Maybe for you the questions keep going. You might be thinking, “I don’t even really know what Jesus’ commands are, so I couldn’t even tell you if I’m obeying them.”
I would so strongly encourage you to think through these questions and talk about them with trusted friends.
Here’s some things I think are important for all of us to consider as we ask these big questions.
Whether you’ve been walking with Jesus for 20 years, or if last week was your first time hearing about Jesus; it’s important to start with that last question and revisit it often. “What did Jesus command?” I forget a lot of the time. Though in any given moment I might be able to spout off some of his teaching it doesn’t mean that I’m regularly pondering his commands and it doesn’t mean that I’m actively changing my life and decision making process in light of them. For example the bible says that as christlike ones we’re to, “…consider others needs more significant than your own.” (Philippians 2:3) So what would aiming to obey this look like in our friendships, at work, and in our conversations?
Jesus preached the most famous message in history and ended it by saying if you HEAR these things and put them into practice you're like a wise man who built on a solid foundation but if you HEAR and don't put these things into practice you're like a fool who built on a weak foundation. (Matthew 7:24-27)
In the church we commonly say that those who've grown up in Christian homes have been given a solid foundation. However, Jesus makes it clear that hearing the right sermons and being taught the right things isn’t enough to guarantee a solid foundation that will endure the storms of life. Having a solid foundation comes from putting truth into practice. It's as we step out in obedience that we find life.
No matter where you’re at in your walk with God it’s so important to remember that his commands aren’t supposed to be a burden but they’re meant to lead you into freedom and real life. (1 John 5:3-5) We often think that doing whatever we want is freedom and yet God makes it clear that path will end up killing us. God’s call to follow is a call to life.
With this in mind begin to focus in on even just a few of Jesus’ commands and consider what obeying them would look like for you. Knowing that obeying His commands is meant to free you rather then enslave you should be motivating!
Though none of us are perfect you may feel further along the road of walking with Jesus and living according to His word. If you are then God is calling you to disciple someone else. In simpler terms, God’s calling you to show/teach someone how to follow Jesus. I know this can feel like an awkward thing to pursue but Jesus is calling you to it so you’ve got to figure out what it looks like in your context!! I recommend reading “Multiply” by Francis Chan and “Saturate” by Jeff Vanderstelt if you’re wanting to step out in discipling others.