Teaching Obedience: The Community

James 1:23-24 “For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like.”

In my small group of seniors in high school, I ask questions to help us all think through how to obey a passage. And, I say, “That’s right because we want to be doers not just (pause for them smiling because I probably say this too much or too excitedly) resounding hearers. 

Last summer we hosted a large group of college students at our house and Kyle and I were teaching them how to obey a verse. I can’t remember the passage, but the dialogue went something like this:

Kyle: How will you show Jesus that you heard this by changing something in your life? 

Student: Um, I’ll pray more.

Kyle: How much more?

Student: Lots more. 

Kyle: But, how much more?

Student: Bro, much more.

Kyle: Let’s make it measurable, so next week when we meet together you know if you obeyed or disobeyed. How about you pray every morning for 10 minutes.

Student: I can make it 30.

ha! We were all laughing, because we have loved and known this student for a long time and it was obvious Kyle playfully knew an answer the student didn’t. You had to be there. Oh memories… So, the point is make it measurable or quantifiable. The ethereal “I’ll pray more” or “I’ll be kinder” turns into: “I’ll turn off my radio on the way to school and pray the whole way there for 3 days.” “Every time my little sister wants to play I’ll talk to her and not ignore her or say something rude to her.” 

We weren’t meant to merely memorize the names of the fruit of the Spirit from Galatians, we are called to say, “God, what can I stop doing or start doing based on one of the fruits you are causing to stand out to me. God, you are making joy pop off the page. Every time I complain, I will ask you how I can be content in that area. Lord, please produce this fruit in me this week.” Share what God showed you with your family, small group, friends, etc. Have someone from that bunch who is going to ask you 3 days later, “How’s that going?” If there isn’t a clearly defined way you are obeying, no one can hold you accountable (including yourself!).

Let’s be disciplers and disciples who are not hearers but doers. Let’s ask questions that get to the heart and soul, not just passive listening. Let’s stop just adding knowledge, and allow the Spirit to change our lives based on what we have read. If you haven’t been teaching them to obey, ask the Lord how you can start. We will see in the next post, how our culture doesn’t make this easy or natural. - Amy