Oriented Toward Others
Being a disciple of Jesus means orienting our lives toward others, just as Jesus did. It means laboring for the sake of others. This love for others is at the heart of discipling. We set our sights on serving others for Christ’s sake, just as Christ came into the world not to be served, but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45).
The discipling life is an others-oriented life. It labors in the power of God to proclaim Christ and present others mature in Christ. That is the pattern we see in the Bible.
The Biblical Pattern
Before Christ is ever named in Scripture, God hardwires these lessons into creation itself through the family. Consider how God makes us parents. He embeds in our nature the desire to give huge amounts of loving attention to rearing one person, nurturing and leading him or her toward maturity.
Then, in ancient Israel, he uses the power of these parenting relationships to work like channels through which the water of his Word flows. So Moses gives the Ten Commandments. He tells the people to love God. And then he instructs the people of Israel, “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise” (Deut. 6:6–7). Here God gives us a great object lesson in discipling another human being. Discipling involves transmitting the knowledge of God and his Word through every moment of life.
Beyond the family itself, the Bible is full of discipling relationships where one person teaches another. Think of how Moses raised up Joshua to succeed him. As did Eli with Samuel. And Elijah with Elisha.