The essence of discipleship is “teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matt 28:20a). It’s not just about teaching knowledge, but about teaching obedience so people can live into what Jesus taught and how he lived. That’s the point.
In some cases, we’ve equated maturity with knowledge, as opposed to considering to what degree a person is living out what he or she already knows. The way to helping people grow in their discipleship is helping them take the next step to become more like Jesus. In many cases, people don’t need to learn more– they need to start doing more of what they already know.
How can we meet people wherever they are and help them move in the right direction?
My own personal take on that is that I can’t make people think their way into a new way of acting. Instead, they need to act their way into a new way of thinking. So I work on the assumption that I don’t know the state of anyone else’s soul, but I can look at their behavior and then try to help them move one step forward from where they are now… wherever that may be. That’s the attitude I take in coaching and it’s the same one I take in discipleship.
You can find some of the discipleship guides I’ve written on various topics– such as generous living, personal transformation, and experiencing God— by heading over to our Discipleship Shop. That was my goal in creating those guides: to provide easy-to-use tools to help us meet people wherever they are and help them move in the right direction.
I totally agree. Unfortunately, I’ve seen so many people who just can’t take the step toward obeduence. They remain in their current state without any change.