The 21 Laws of Discipleship

Jesus’s Easy Yoke

If Jesus said His yoke is easy, why do so many find Christian living to be so hard? 
Matthew 11.28 - 30

Law #1: The Law of the Mind

Christian living is not so much about trying hard to be good as it is about changing the way we think. Different thinking produces a differing life.
Romans 12.1 - 2

Law #2: The Law of Training

You don't run a marathon by trying really hard. You can run a marathon if you train yourself. Scriptures says "train yourself to be godly." What exactly does it mean to train yourself to be godly?
1 Corinthians 4.7, 8

Law #3: The Law of Worship

If there is a shortcut to discipleship, it is worship. Worship reminds us who is boss. It reminds us that God is good. It reminds that God is strong. Worshiping people are on the fast tract to spiritual maturity.
Psalm 100 / 1 John 3.1 – 3

Law #4: The Law of Community

We can't become disciples alone. Discipleship has lot to do with learning to love one another. It is learning to forgive and bear with one another. 
Hebrews 10.24, 25 / Ephesians 4.15, 16 Ephesians 2.21, 22 / Colossians 2.19

Law #5: The Law of Habit

Christianity is largely about establishing a handful of habits that shape the rest of our lives. It is largely about getting into the habit of starting your day with your Bible on your lap. Get in the habit of starting your in the Word and in prayer and the rest will follow as night follows day. 
Hebrews 10.24, 25

Law #6: The Law of the Spirit

Discipleship is not about trying hard to be good. We can no more live the Christian life in our own power that we can drive a combustion-engine car without gas in the gas tank. We must be continually filled with the Spirit.
Ephesians 5.18

Lesson #7: The Law of Example

Don't just preach to me; show me. Don't just teach me; show me.
1 Corinthians 11:1, Philippians 3:17, 1 Thessalonians 1:6, 1 Corinthians 4:16.

Law #8: The Law of Effort

There is more to Christian living than trying hard to be good. More, but never less. The phrase "make every effort..." appears nine times in the new testament. Jesus said, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock." (Matthew 7.25)
Colossians 1.29; Ephesians 4.3; 2 Peter 1.5

Law #9: The Law of Faith

It will be done for you according to your faith." Matthew 9.29
The Just will live by faith. Romans 1.17.
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)

Law #10: The Law of Talk

We are changed more by what we say than what we hear. "Speaking the truth in love we will grow." Ephesians 4.15 People who speak words of gratitude become more grateful. People who speak words of love become more loving. People who complain become more negative and grumpy. The words we speak are a rudder.
Matthew 15.10, 11 James 3.3 – 6 / 1 Corinthians 10.10

Law #11: The Law of Pain

We can rest contentedly in our sins and in our stupidities; and anyone who has watched gluttons shovelling down the most exquisite foods as if they did not know what they were eating, will admit that we can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world. C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain. Hebrews 12.4 - 13

Law #12: The Law of Gospel

The gospel, however, is not just the diving board off of which we jump into the pool of Christianity; it is the pool itself. It is not only the way we begin in Christ; it is the way we grow in Christ. As Tim Keller says, the gospel is not just the ABCs of Christianity, it is the A–Z; it is not the first step in a stairway of truths, it is more like the hub of God’s wheel of truth. All other Christian virtues flow out of it. That’s why growth in Christ is never going beyond the gospel, but going deeper into the gospel. The purest waters from the spring of life are found by digging deeper, not wider, into the gospel well. -- J. D. Greear, Gospel: Recovering the Power That Made Christianity Revolutionary
Romans 1.16

Law #13: The Law of Service

Jesus never intended that ministry “unto the least of these” should be carried out by only a handful of people in the church. He intended for all of us to be involved, so that all our lives could be transformed by service. Dan Day, Getting It Right: Surviving the Six Most Common Obstacles to Spiritual Growth
Mark 10.45; John 13.15

Law #14: The Law of the Way of Escape

It is not about trying really hard not to sin. It is about finding the way of escape. If you can avoid the temptation, you can avoid the sin. Temptation is not sin. Still, if we can avoid it, all the better. Find the way of escape and you don't have to struggle to try really hard not to sin. 1 Corinthians 10.13

Law #15: The Law of Commitment

A century ago, a band of brave souls became known as one-way missionaries. They purchased single tickets to the mission field without the return half. And instead of suitcases, they packed their few earthly belongings into coffins. As they sailed out of port, they waved good-bye to everyone they loved, everything they knew. They knew they’d never return home.

A. W. Milne was one of those missionaries. He set sail for the New Hebrides in the South Pacific, knowing full well that the headhunters who lived there had martyred every missionary before him. Milne did not fear for his life, because he had already died to himself. His coffin was packed. For thirty-five years, he lived among that tribe and loved them. When he died, tribe members buried him in the middle of their village and inscribed this epitaph on his tombstone:

When he came there was no light.When he left there was no darkness.

When did we start believing that God wants to send us to safe places to do easy things? That faithfulness is holding the fort? That playing it safe is safe? That there is any greater privilege than sacrifice? That radical is anything but normal? Jesus didn’t die to keep us safe. He died to make us dangerous. Faithfulness is not holding the fort. It’s storming the gates of hell.

The will of God is not an insurance plan. It’s a daring plan. The complete surrender of your life to the cause of Christ isn’t radical. It’s normal. It’s time to quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death. It’s time to go all in and all out for the All in All. Pack your coffin! Mark Batterson, All In.
Luke 9.23

Law #16: The Law of Time

SO MANY GROWERS EXPECT that, if they read their Bibles and do the right things, they will instantly and permanently change. They are disappointed when this does not happen. They may feel God has let them down or they are doing something wrong, when in fact everything may be proceeding as God planned it. Time is a necessary ingredient of growth. -- Henry Cloud and John Townsend, How People Grow.
Luke 13:6–9; Ephesians 5.16

Law #17: The Law of Prayer

Of all the Spiritual Disciplines, prayer is second only to the intake of God’s Word in importance. Donald S. Whitney, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life.
Philippians 4.6 - 7

Law #18: The Law of Replacement

If you think you’re trapped, if you believe there’s a lock on the door, you’ve bought into a lie. And it is the lie, nothing else, that is holding you back. If you can spot the lie, you can remove it. You can replace it with the truth and be free. Getting out of your self-imposed prison is a simple two-step process: • Remove the lie. • Replace it with truth. But the struggle in this process is very real and very hard, and it can feel like a war is being fought in your life. Because that’s exactly what is happening. Craig Groeschel and Josh Mosey, Winning the War in Your Mind.
Romans 12.21

Law #19: The Law of Confession

The Spirit-filled life is a supernatural life that surpasses our strengths and abilities. We can depend on that. The Spirit has promised it. But this does not mean that we do not have to do anything. We still have to step out in faith. We have to risk. We have to love, open up, confess, reach out, repent, obey, and do all the other things we are commanded to do. Our part is to live the life. But we do not have to do it alone or in our own power. We are partners with the Spirit. Henry Cloud and John Townsend, How People Grow.
James 5.16

Law #20: The Law of the Kingdom

Spiritual formation in Christ is a process of growing in kingdom living and participating in God’s mission. This begins with our personal reconciliation with God and results in an irrepressible manifestation of God’s good news. Disciples of the kingdom labor in community for reconciliation with God and one another as a central priority of mission. They also pursue justice and compassion for all people and work to correct institutional sin inherent in human structures.

Description: The kingdom of God is the reality of God’s transforming presence, power, and goodness manifested in the community of Jesus’ disciples (see Matthew 5:13–16). This community witnesses to the reality of the presence of the kingdom throughout this age (see Ephesians 2:1–21). Spiritual formation is not the end itself but is always pursued through and focused on the advancement of Christ’s kingdom.  — Andrews, Alan, and Christopher Morton, eds. 2010. “The Journey of TACT.” In The Kingdom Life: A Practical Theology of Discipleship and Spiritual Formation
Matthew 6.10, 33

Law #21: The Law of Sovereignty

God not only begins a process in us, wooing us to him, but also pushes our growth to completion. As Paul said, “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6). If we feel some desire toward completion, God has not given up on us. He is still working, wooing, revealing light, and working to make us whole. Knowing his Spirit is at work on you and in you is a very good place to begin working on any issue in life. So the first point of how the Holy Spirit operates in our lives is this: The Spirit begins the process of growth by wooing us to Jesus, and he is working to finish the task. Henry Cloud and John Townsend, How People Grow.
Philippians 1.6 / 1 Corinthians 1.8 / Hebrews 12.1 - 3

Is Christian living easy or hard?

Is it easy or hard for you to live the Christian life?

I have asked this question to thousands of Christians and consistently they will answer with resolve, “Hard!”

Then, I show them this familiar verse:

For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:30 (NIV2011)

I ask again, wording the question slightly differently, “Did Jesus teach that following Him would be easy or hard?” Puzzled looks.

I never get an explanation this complete, but it seems they are saying, “I don’t care what that verse says, believe me, Christian living is very, very hard.”

One word of clarification. I am not asking whether life is hard. Our experience confirms what Jesus taught: life is hard. “In this world you will have trouble.” John 16:33 (NIV2011) Trouble. Life is hard.

I am asking whether Christian living is easy or hard, not whether life is easy or hard. In this world full of difficulties, is it easy or hard to live as Jesus taught?

The answer seems clear. Jesus taught that His yoke is easy. Could it be we have put on some other yoke?

Perhaps we have put on the yoke of religion.

Perhaps we have put on the yoke of duty.

Perhaps we have put on the yoke of feel-good-faith.

Perhaps we have put on the yoke of legalism.

Perhaps we have put on the yoke of moralism.

Perhaps we have put on the yoke of trying really hard to be good.

If the yoke that we have around our neck is not easy, it is not Jesus’ yoke.

Ortberg suggests that we have replaced Jesus’ yoke with rule-keeping:

A recent study by the Barna Group found that the number one challenge to helping people grow spiritually is that most people equate spiritual maturity with trying hard to follow the rules in the Bible. No wonder people also said they find themselves unmotivated to pursue spiritual growth. If I think God’s aim is to produce rule-followers, spiritual growth will always be an obligation rather than a desire of my heart.

“Rule-keeping does not naturally evolve into living by faith,” Paul wrote, “but only perpetuates itself in more and more rule-keeping.” In other words, it only results in a rule-keeping, desire-smothering, Bible-reading, emotion-controlling, self-righteous person who is not like me. In the end, I cannot follow God if I don’t trust that he really has my best interests at heart.

The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. There is an enormous difference between following rules and following Jesus, because I can follow rules without cultivating the right heart.

A better way

I would suggest that Christian living is hard because we have never been taught to live the Christian life. We have been taught a lot about the Bible. We know a lot of Bible stories from the Bible. We could give you a lot of Bible facts. We could even throw in a few Greek words and several dates. But, we have never been taught, systematically, step-by-step, how to live the Christian life.

Imagine a Canadian caterpillar chomping away on a plant in September. You whisper to this caterpillar, “You better get started. Winter is coming.”

“Where do I need to go?” responds the caterpillar.


How far is it?

3000 miles.

He doesn’t really understand how far Mexico is. He doesn’t understand 3000 miles. But he thinks to himself, “I am going to have to try really, really hard.”

3000 miles would be a long way for any animal to migrate, but for a caterpillar, it seems impossible. And, of course, it would be impossible except for one thing. God created a caterpillar with DNA that allows it to enter the tomb of a chrysalis for a few weeks and come out a butterfly. As a butterfly, it will just do what butterflies do. Every year, millions of butterflies make this 3000-mile trek to a place they have never seen. Their secret is not trying really hard. Their secret is transformation. Once transformed, they just need to do what butterflies by the millions do every year. Once transformed, Jesus’ yoke really does become easy.

This is precisely the word Paul uses when he says that we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. It is also the word Paul uses in 2 Corinthians 3.18 when he says we are transformed by beholding Christ (ESV). Other passages indicate other ways that God transforms us. Here is a list, that will form the outline for this study:

  • Transformed by training
  • Transformed by the renewing of your mind
  • Transformed by worship
  • Transformed in community
  • Transformed by habit
  • Transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit
  • Transformed by imitating a godly example
  • Transformed by trying
  • Transformed by faith
  • Transformed by speaking the truth
  • Transformed by pain
  • Transformed by Sovereign Grace

The Evangelism Explosion
of the 21st Century

We desperately need a revival of evangelism in America.

This book and study paves the way. It shows a practical, workable, proven method to train your people in lifestyle evangelism 

Josh Hunt ● ● ●  1964 Sedona Hills Parkway, Las Cruces, NM 88011
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software