Jesus modeled the importance of relationship in the way He taught His disciples: He followed the Deuteronomy 6:7 exhortation. God’s commands were on His heart and He talked about them as He spent time with the disciples. He talked about the truth when they ate and when they went to bed. Jesus was with His disciples because His relationship with them was the conduit by which He could deliver all that they needed.
Jesus often used stories as a jumping-off point to create great discussions. We see the world through the stories of our lives and the lives of others. The best way to transform one’s worldview is by renewing the mind through the stories found in God’s Word (see Romans 12:2). Over time, stories can eat away at false belief and validate the truth. Jesus also used everyday experiences such as farming, gardening, fishing, and shepherding to teach deeper spiritual truths. He modeled the behaviors He wanted the disciples to learn: how to pray, how to be a servant, how to be humble, and so on. He pointed out people who were doing life right, like the widow who quietly gave all she had. He also pointed out those who were getting it wrong, like the Pharisees. All of these teaching methods were relational in nature. Jesus knew exactly what he was doing – He invested His life into the twelve. He chose to be in relationship with His disciples because He understood that more is caught than taught.
Jim Putman, author of this blog, is writing a new book called The Death of Discipleship about the dynamics of pride and humility in the discipleship process. Download the free primer for this book here.
As we go about our call to ‘make disciples’, sometimes we make it much harder than it needs to be. We look at it from the aspect of sharing biblical truth and information and we become overwhelmed and afraid we are lacking. The truth is, when you live out your life as a disciple of Jesus, the people you bring alongside you will be learning from the things they see you model.
Our goal is not to reproduce ourself in others, or make prepackaged cookie-cutter disciples – our goal is to help someone become all that Jesus wants them to be as they develop in spiritual maturity and become more like Him. This happens best through relationship – the way Jesus modeled it. True relationship will give nonbelievers a picture of what Jesus can do in them and for them. And true relationship with other believers can give us the support and accountability we need to change and grow in our love for God and for others. And when our churches become filled with people like that – they gates of Hell cannot prevail against it.
You can read more on this topic in the book Real Life Discipleship by Jim Putman.
Written by Jim Putman
This was originally posted on Jim Putman’s blog here. Used with permission.
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