Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”—John 8:31-32 NLT
FIVE HABITS OF A DISCIPLE
Jesus lived out His life as a pattern for us to follow. Remember how Jesus described those who would follow Him? Jesus said, “You are truly My disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31,32 NLT
As followers of Jesus we want to build habits into our daily lives that will keep us faithful to Him. Near the close of His ministry at the last supper, Jesus taught His twelve disciples five ways to follow Him. They are essentials for every follower of Jesus. Here are five daily activities of a disciple described in the Gospel of John, chapters 13-17.
- Praying to our Father
- Feeding on God’s Word
- Following the the Holy Spirit
- Serving the Body of Jesus Christ
- Being a witness of God’s love
DAILY PRAYER TO THE FATHER
A disciple of Jesus cultivates intimacy with the Father in prayer and gets answers. Prayer is just talking to the Father and letting Him talk to us! But Jesus introduced a new kind of praying to the Father. Jesus taught us to pray to the Father in His name with God’s Word as our foundation. This opens up our ability to converse with God and and gets us aligned with Him.
On that day you will ask Me nothing. Truly, truly I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full… On that day you will ask in My name. I am not saying to you that I shall ask the Father on your behalf. For the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came from God.— John 16:23-24, 26-27 MEV
Jesus is our connection to the Father. He makes it possible for us to have a life of continual prayer communication and fellowship with Him. God wants us to experience fruit, and one kind of fruit is answered prayer!
Jesus said, “ I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that bears no fruit He takes away. And every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean through the word which I have spoken to you. Remain in Me, as I also remain in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it remains in the vine, neither can you unless you remain in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who remains in Me and I in him, bears much fruit. For without Me you can do nothing…. If you remain in Me, and My words remain in you, you will ask whatever you desire, and it shall be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.” – John 15: 1-5, 7-8 MEV
DAILY FEEDING ON THE WORD OF GOD
We experience God’s love by keeping His Word. A disciple is one who feeds upon the Scriptures. This involves daily meditating on and speaking, or confessing the Word, praying the Word, and applying the Word to our lives.
“He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father. And I will love him and will reveal Myself to him…If a man loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words. The word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me…But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you. Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” – John 14: 21, 23-24, 26-27 MEV
DAILY YIELDING TO AND FOLLOWING THE HOLY SPIRIT
A disciple is one who is yielding to and following the Holy Spirit. Jesus explained the key role that the Holy Spirit has in the life of a disciple.
The Holy Spirit dwells in the heart of every believer.
“If you love Me, keep My commandments. I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Counselor, that He may be with you forever: the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, for it does not see Him, neither does it know Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you, and will be in you.” – John 14: 15-17 MEV
The Holy Spirit will teach us and remind us of the Word so we can have peace.
“But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you. Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” -John 14: 26-27 MEV
The witness of the Holy Spirit always testifies of Jesus. The Holy Spirit is the One who gives us an inner witness in our hearts that Jesus really is who He says He is, and that what He has done has had a real effect in our hearts. The Spirit testifies to our hearts that we are now the children of God. He makes the things of God real to us and gives us confidence! Now we are able to testify to others that these things are true.
“Nevertheless I tell you the truth: It is expedient for you that I go away. For if I do not go away, the Counselor will not come to you. But if I go, I will send Him to you…But when the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. For He will not speak on His own authority. But He will speak whatever He hears, and He will tell you things that are to come. He will glorify Me, for He will receive from Me and will declare it to you. All that the Father has is Mine. Therefore I said that He will take what is Mine and will declare it to you. “—John 16: 7,13-15 MEV
The Holy Spirit is our helper, counselor, and teacher, who guides us into all truth.
Nevertheless I tell you the truth: It is expedient for you that I go away. For if I do not go away, the Counselor will not come to you. But if I go, I will send Him to you. But when the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. For He will not speak on His own authority. But He will speak whatever He hears, and He will tell you things that are to come. He will glorify Me, for He will receive from Me and will declare it to you. All that the Father has is Mine. Therefore I said that He will take what is Mine and will declare it to you.— John 16:7,13-15 MEV
SERVING THE BODY OF CHRIST – OUR FELLOW CHRISTIANS
A disciple lays down his or her life for Jesus and His Church. We can serve Christ’s Church in many ways: through our prayers, using our gifts in service to others, and supporting the work of the local church through tithing and giving. But at the root of every kind of serving is the example Jesus gave us to follow. It is an amazing example of humble, unselfish willingness to do whatever needs to be done for the Father’s children, whatever the cost.
Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands and that He came from God and was going to God, rose from supper, laid aside His garments, and took a towel and wrapped Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was wrapped. Then He came to Simon Peter, and Peter said to Him, “Lord, are You washing my feet?” Jesus answered him, “You do not understand what I am doing now. But later you will understand.” Peter said to Him, “You shall never wash my feet!” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me….So when He had washed their feet, and put on His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord. You speak accurately, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.— John 13:3-8, 12-15 MEV
Following Christ means embracing the commandment of love.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” — John 13:34-35 MEV
The greatest example of love is to lay down our life for others.
This is My commandment: that you love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love has no man than this: that a man lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. I no longer call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master does. But I have called you friends, for everything that I have heard from My Father have I made known to you.— John 15:12-15 MEV
DAILY BEING A WITNESS OF GOD’S LOVE TO OUR WORLD
Disciples maintain a witness of Christ to their generation both in their lifestyle and their ministry. We have a ministry of reconciliation to the world around us. God wants us to be His good will ambassadors! We can be a light to our world by the way we live, and we can share the good news of what Jesus has done with others. We can help them to step into this new life with God too. God has sent us to our generation!
I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, so I sent them into the world.— John 17:15-18 MEV
Also, we can be used to do the same works of Jesus (healings and miracles) because we have authority in His Name. We can be a witness to the truth and the love of Jesus by praying for others and ministering to them in the Name of Jesus.
Truly, truly I say to you, he who believes in Me will do the works that I do also. And he will do greater works than these, because I am going to My Father. I will do whatever you ask in My name, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it. .— John 14:12-14 MEV
Jesus has given the glory (His power and presence) to His Church so that we may be one. His glory is His Spirit! And the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of His great love. The love that we have for one another is another witness to the world that Jesus is alive and working in us!
I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word, that they may all be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You. May they also be one in Us, that the world may believe that You have sent Me. I have given them the glory which You gave Me, that they may be one even as We are one: I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfect in unity, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.— John 17:20-23 MEV
FOR A DEEPER UNDERSTANDING: God’s glory is defined in the Old Testament as His power and presence. Read these stories for a deeper understanding of the glory of God.
1. We see God’s glory on Mt. Sinai (Exodus 24:16-17).
2. We see God’s glory at the Tent of Moses that was used during Israel’s 40 years of wandering in the wilderness (Exodus 40:34-35).
3. We see God’s glory at the dedication of Solomon’s temple (2 Chronicles 7:1-3) It was seen as a cloud by day and fire by night that resided in the midst of God’s people during that time. Today God’s glory resides in us! His glory is His Spirit!
Summary: With the help of the Holy Spirit we want to cultivate and build daily habits into our lives that produce fruitfulness. You can measure your spiritual growth by how well you maintain these 5 habits of a disciple.
Next Step: Read chapters 13-17 in the Gospel of John. Begin to establish these habits in your own daily life and/or look for ways to strengthen them.
- Become an avid conversationalist with your Father….be quick to share; be quick to listen; keep the prayer conversation going!
- Listen to, read, think about, talk about, meditate on, apply God’s Word – all the time! Make the Word as much a part of your life as breakfast, lunch, and supper!
- Learn the ways of the Holy Spirit, your Divine Helper. Practice listening and yield to Him every time He leads or prompts you!
- Be on the lookout every day for ways to serve the people you know or meet. Be like Jesus and be willing to do whatever is needed!
- Practice loving others with the love God has shown you! And whenever you have the opportunity tell someone what Jesus has done for you. He will do the same for them!
- What does it mean to be a follower or disciple of Christ? What spiritual habits have you begun to put in place in your personal life? Which ones need more attention?
- Talk about what steps have to be taken to establish new habits (or break down old ones). Are there ways that we can help or support one another with this?
- What are the joys and benefits that each of these habits bring to our lives? What have you experienced of this?
- How do these habits strengthen and grow our relationship with the Father, with Jesus, with the Holy Spirit?
Father, I thank you for the Holy Spirit who lives in me. Help me become a Christ follower. I yield my life to you Holy Spirit. Thank you Holy Spirit for moving in my life, in my prayer time, and in my study time. Thank you for helping me break off habits from my old life and build new ones that keep me close to You. Thank you for helping me become more like Jesus. I choose to put the Word of God first priority in my life. I commit to living a life of increasing fruitfulness in Jesus name.