Teaching Obedience: The Call

Many times discipleship starts and ends with knowledge. But, discipleship is not "sit still while I instill." We are not giving information to produce an inactive, intelligent person. Matthew 28:19-20 says, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (emphasis mine)

What do we teach when we go, teach, and baptize? We teach them to observe all that Christ commanded. We teach them to obey. I have had this passage memorized since I was in elementary school, but obedience was not my goal when reading the Bible. Yes, I wanted to obey, but what does that really mean? I didn’t have an action step every day for the specific verses I read. Now (thanks to David Watson) this is a part of my time in the Bible! I’m also trying to teach obedience based discipleship to my 3 year old. 

We read the Jesus Storybook Bible every morning. I realized that I was asking only “knowledge” questions. Who swallowed Jonah? A fish. Great. Where did he go? Winuhbuh. Right, Nineveh. Who wants more go-gurt?

But, the Lord reminded me that I want my disciples (whether they are 3 or 13) to look at the Bible and apply it and obey it. We were reading the story in Matthew 19 when the disciples tried to send the children away and Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me.” I asked a few knowledge questions. “Who wanted to see Jesus?” “Who wanted to send them away?” Then, the heart. “If Jesus came to our house, what would you do?” She sat for a second and grinned and said, “I would sit in his lap.” “Perfect. Yes. Let’s think through ways to be with Jesus today.” I was so convicted and sharpened by childlike faith from my sweetie that morning. 

Here are my 3 of my favorite questions for teaching my disciples to obey:

1. What is the biggest thing God showed you this week? How can we both grow in this area?

2. How can we change our lives based on what we heard today?

3. What is something we can start doing and stop doing based on what we read just now?

Notice the questions say, “we.” You will both sit and consider how God will have you grow. This is a chance for you to model measurable obedience steps, and it is a chance for you to both sharpen each other with steps God has shown youindividually. Ephesians 4:13 reminds, “until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.” With these questions model a lifeand prod the disciple you're making towards not being a passive hearer only but a faithful, active doer. 

Consider what questions are age-appropriate for your children, students, and friends. And, aim for the mind, heart, and soul when teaching them to obey. In the next post, I will share a cultural hurdle for discipleship. -Amy