Being all wrapped up in mentoring, I ‘light up’ when I find a Scripture that says something related to disciple-making. As I neared the end of the book of Matthew the other morning, I knew I was about to read the ‘great commission’. I’ve quoted it forever. But reading The Message paraphrase by Eugene Peterson, I found words I didn’t expect.
Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.”
(The Message) Matt. 28:19-20
“… this way of life…”
Train everyone in ‘this way of life’. The way of life Jesus taught and modeled.
What does that mean? Real world. Right now.
Here’s what ‘this way of life’ means to me personally…
– God is at the center of everything. The constant thought is “Thank you God.” “Thank you for loving me, for saving me, for adopting me into your family.” “Thank you for being with me, no matter what.”
– Not to worry. Whatever is coming my way, whatever is in my future will come through God’s hand. If He’s not causing it, He’s allowing it. So I’m leaning into the future, trusting that God loves me, that He is good, and that He’ll be accessible to me as I go through whatever.
– Grateful for money, but never forgetting it all comes from Him. I can’t spend a single dollar ‘in the dark’. He knows what I spend His money for, so I’m challenged to be careful what I spend and why I’m spending it.
– The first place I’m to “train…in this way of life” is at home. Teaching and modeling the humility, selflessness and character of Jesus is my responsibility. Before Mom, before church, school, Boy Scouts, whatever… it’s Dad’s job to make disciples of his kids. To teach them “this way of life” by living it as consistently as possible since values are ‘caught’ more than ‘taught’. And to teach them the principles of God as He shows them uniquely to him.
– Living your life for others IS a huge part of “this way of life”. The Father and other people were everything to Jesus. He taught and modeled total selflessness.
“…’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind’. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’Matthew 22:37-38
‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ Matthew 25:45
That’s what ‘this way of life’ means to me. Don’t get me wrong…I don’t live it out all the time. Far from it.
But “this way of life” is what I want for me and my wife. It’s what I want for my kids and my grandkids. And it’s what I want for my mentees and their families. It’s what I want for everyone. It is ‘the best life’ possible. It’s incomparable.
Figuring out “this way of life” is something everyone has to come to for himself. It would be pretty hard to argue against what I shared above since it’s straight from Scripture. But everyone has to seek God on his own, listen to His voice, and fulfill His unique vision for their lives.
And the “how” questions are as plentiful as cars on the expressway. Family devotions? Family constitutions? Home schooling? Mission trips? Serving in the church? Para-church ministry? Leading a Radical Mentoring group?
Everyone gets to figure out their own strategy for living and teaching “this way of life”.
So decide what “this way of life” means for you. Write it down. Think about it. Pray over it. Talk to your wife about it. Commit yourself to it.
Then decide what you’ll do to teach it to others, starting with your family and moving out from there.
And then do it.
Question: What else has to be there for “this way of life” to be complete? What are we missing here? We’d love your comments here.