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Disciples of Jesus struggle to follow him in the most basic of instructions

Posted by on Apr 19, 2012 in discipleship | 35 comments

Disciples of Jesus struggle to follow him in the most basic of instructions

Over the last few weeks, some friends and I have been encouraging and helping one another follow Jesus by asking each other this question: “What are you struggling to obey right now?”

We don’t try to tell each other what Jesus wants us to do to follow him. We simple pray for and encourage one another to follow in whatever struggle we’re having.

As I’ve thought about this question and some of the responses that we’ve given each other, I realized something interesting: disciples of Jesus struggle to follow him in the most basic of instructions.

But, this is nothing new. Why did every author of the New Testament stress that Jesus’ disciples were to love one another? Because everyone was struggling to do that – and we still do. And, yet, according to Jesus, “Love one another” is the one most basic of his instructions of all!

We do not need to be embarrassed by our struggles to follow Jesus. We all struggle, even if we struggle in different ways and at different times. Instead, we should help one another listen to Jesus and follow him.

So, what are you struggling to obey Jesus about right now?


35 Comments

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  1. 4-19-2012

    Jesus told me this morning that I know He/They love me. But, I don’t live loved. He said that I live free in Him, but I don’t live loved. (He also told me that I didn’t “get” it…and He’s right, I don’t get it/Him. Any thoughts?

  2. 4-19-2012

    Sybiljean,

    My first suggestion is to share this with people who know you and who can help you live in and respond to God’s love.

    -Alan

  3. 4-19-2012

    My biggest struggle is learning to trust. I am doing better though. :)

  4. 4-19-2012

    I personally only struggle with from time to time and only this flesh and blood, dying daily as Paul tried to get all of us to see. the battle is flesh and blood, finding a way though this evil world to come alive and even deceive the very elect in doing good works, yet only being of flesh and blood.
    The powers of the air, Spirits of error, do not care if we go to church, read our bibles, help the widow across the street, take care of the orphan, or out being a wreck to others. There is flesh and blood love. The only thing that the powers of the air, the spirits of error care about is no one see the truth, that we are no longer under the commandments of men or God. Go to the beach drink a drink and say THANK YOU LORD for freeing me and as I go I will carry this GOSPEL to all the rest lead thenm to seek you out, looking for your MERCY (love), and thus be free period, no longer have to be nice, do not have to love, do not have to forgive, ALL things are permissable, now you decide since all things are permissable, then ask what I am about to do, is it prophetable,(not profitable) I know and am convinced that all things are clean of itself. So this to me means it is what I do with each and all things that are clean of itself. Do I choose to make it dirty and hurt my neighbor. Or do I go to the Holy Ghost and ask, thus then knowing what to do with whatever clean thing I began with
    Thanks Howard

  5. 4-19-2012

    SYBILJEAN says:

    Jesus told me this morning that I know He/They love me. But, I don’t live loved. He said that I live free in Him, but I don’t live loved. (He also told me that I didn’t “get” it…and He’s right, I don’t get it/Him. Any thoughts?

    Sibiljean, here is some insight I see. It is not about feeling. Feelings are a result of thought. Try this try to be happy with out happy thought, see if you can. We all are designed in such a way that whatever we are thinking is a direct result of what we feel.
    Jesus asked in Matthew Will worry add a single moment to yuor life?
    So ask yourself. As a matter of fact it takes away from it at least this is what I discovered. The thief came to steal, kill and destroy. Who is the thief? So if: Ex: I am going to play the thief
    I say you are no good, you cannot do anything, how stupid are you? You hear thyis kind of treatment a lot in your life after awhile you might start to beleve it. WOW Gal, renew your thinking, leave these condemning words behind you and seek to be around encouraging people of the Spirit of God. start reading the word and ask God who lives in you to see you through to the truth of his LOVE and MERCY. Whatever you do refrain from giving up and You will break through to the other side that you really are already on from and through brelief. Starting with you are completely forgiven by God, it is complete, and until you see this it is impossible to cross over conciously. Renew thy mind to see things from God’s vantage point
    Thanks for Listening Howard

  6. 4-19-2012

    Fred,

    Yeah, several of us are helping one another trust God through different circumstances or situations.

    Howard,

    I like your response to Sybiljean, although she probably does many of the things you said. But, I’m wondering… “renew your thinking,” “leave these condemning words,” “seek to be around,” “start reading,” “ask God,” “refrain from giving up”… Aren’t these rules?

    Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. But, as you see, exhorting one another toward Christ is a good thing, and often includes “rules”.

    -Alan

  7. 4-19-2012

    I like your response to Sybiljean, although she probably does many of the things you said. But, I’m wondering… “renew your thinking,” “leave these condemning words,” “seek to be around,” “start reading,” “ask God,” “refrain from giving up”… Aren’t these rules?

    Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. But, as you see, exhorting one another toward Christ is a good thing, and often includes “rules”.
    Rules, Regulations, are a curse to flesh and blood, and flesh and blood does not agree with the Spirit of truth.
    Hebrews chapter 3 and 4, all these are apart of entering his rest it is either unbelief or belief, renewing your mind and all the rest of those are not commandments nor are they rules. It is a work hard to enter his rest and then therefore once you see this you are no longer at work, even while you work. for it is no longer flesh and blood art work, I said art on purpose. In the old covenant you had to perform in order to get and if you did not get it right you had to sacrifice an animal and shed blood in order to be forgiven. One had to love in order to be loved, to forgive in order to be forgiven. None ever entered rest under these orders, no ones conscience was ever purged from sin. So since this is true people are still going to the old sacrificial system and asking for further forgiveness because they are failing to do what they believe they are suppose to do, so they continue in sin, hurting their neighbor and thinking God must be displeased with them.
    If you, or anyone here thinks and believes “the truth sets one free” then if any of us all is included here, any of us are in bondage then there is error in their truth, for if you after trying and trying and are still in bondage, not free, then there is error in your truth, and only god from your seekiing God out can deliver you, me, and or anyone else
    Thank you again for reading, those with ears, shall hear if seeking the truth that sests one free in God the Father of Christ.
    Have you all settled this you are forgiven through Christ, and there is no more forgiveness to be executed? because there is no ore shedding of blood. The blood is and was the payment it is done you are forgiven before you were ever born.

  8. 4-19-2012

    If I say, “pretty much everything, which has been the case my entire life,” is that too honest? ;-)

  9. 4-19-2012

    Howard,

    Howard,

    It’s still interesting to me that you find your commands and exhortations to Sybiljean and to myself and to otehrs to be acceptable, but when I write exhortations (even exhortations give in Scripture to those who are in Christ) you say they are “law” and “rules.”

    Our salvation and relationship with God is only by his grace. Nothing I do earns that salvation. Yes, I believe and live in the forgiveness that God has given me in Jesus Christ. Now… I love him, and so I keep his commandments. In fact, Jesus said that keeping his commandments is one of the signs that we love him. Our freedom in Christ is not for ourselves only. Now that we are free in Christ, we can serve others in Him.

    Dan,

    No, that’s not too honest at all. Like I said in the post, even in Scripture those who were in Christ had to be continually and consistently exhorted in the simplest and most basic of instructions.

    -Alan

  10. 4-19-2012

    This is very helpful. : )

    http://www.lifestream.org/media/audio/relax.mp3 How To Lived Loved

  11. 4-19-2012

    To be completely honest, I struggle to not hate everyone.

  12. 4-19-2012

    Alan sorry you misunderstand me, there is the ten commnadments ,and there are exhortations under the new covenant. These are differant one is under the law of flesh and blood. The other is in and under the new life which is not a commandment to the new lfe believer. One beconmes a doer of the law of liberty. it is god that worketh in through each per ones free will.
    All I know per scripture, is flesh and blood will never please God and that he called for us to die to flesh and blood. Then from the Spirit we become doers instead of triers, finding out we can’t as Paul described in Romans 6,7,and 8
    Love you Alan

  13. 4-19-2012

    SYBILJEAN says:

    This is very helpful. : )

    http://www.lifestream.org/media/audio/relax.mp3 How To Lived Loved

    Thank you sybiljean, yes been there, other sites you might like as well realanswers.net and growingingrace.org all have been helpful
    Howard

  14. 4-19-2012

    Dan says:

    To be completely honest, I struggle to not hate everyone

    Honesty, wow, I understand this it is hard to get ones own way, especially in marriage, and is frustrating to mold to a situatuion as water molds so easily to a pitcher when water is poured into it. If only we could learn to act like water. Wait a minute we can we can search to seek the kingdom of heaven and all of ones needs shall be supplied. We will have drank of the water Jesus exclainmed to the woman if she drank of his water she would never thirst again, so I wonder what is keeping people from this water drinking and never thirsting again. Could it be we are working for our salvations instead of enjoying Salvation. I know when I try not to do something or do I cannot find how to do it, so I (flesh and blood) cannot keep from hating anyone,it hates everyone except those that love them and agree. for everytime I wish to do this I find the opposite happens. So I died to flesh and blood and camre alive to God where now all work is finished, come join me in the sun, basking, relaxing as I write this to you. Love you all here and everywhere as God has already showed me, and you if you do not already know, oh and I am poor here on earth, yet i bask in the Salvation. being glad for what i have instead of mad for what I do not have, (speaking as man in this present world darkness)For I have and you and you and you have life everlasting from day one once you believed you asked for salvation. you were born again as an apple on the tree branch, you were born perfect that day, I, you were just not yet grown up, you, i were green not mature. maturity comes with seeing to and willingly die to the flesh in God
    Thanks for your honesty, for honesty is a step to freedom
    Howard

  15. 4-19-2012

    Hi, Alan,

    Okay, I’ll play, too. ;-)

    I am struggling with …

    1. Loving a member of the church where I attend with whom I disagree — and the worst of it is that it is not all that substantive, but I am finding it hard to manage my emotional reactions very well.

    2. Separating my anger about some disrespect I felt I was shown years ago by some church leaders from my current study about what true Biblical leadership looks like — my pride ma be blinding me.

    3. And some more stuff i don’t want to reveal publicly on a blog (but I am aware of these things and am praying for God’s help in dealing with them). ;-)

    And, yes, I would say pride is a basic instruction.

    Don :)

  16. 4-19-2012

    I liked your post on obedience. I’ve often said – beware of asking God what he wants you to do if you have no intention of doing it.

  17. 4-20-2012

    Howard,

    We cannot obey Jesus if our “flesh and blood” is not obeying his as well. All of Jesus’ commands require our “flesh and blood” obedience: love one another, serve one another, etc. The Spirit (Holy Ghost if you prefer) who dwells within us gives us the power and ability to obey Jesus in spirit and in “flesh and blood”.

    By the way, thanks for linking to Wayne’s podcast. He’s a great example of someone of abides in Jesus and drags his “flesh and blood” around the world to serve others in Jesus’ name.

    Dan,

    Well, obviously you don’t hate me. I love seeing what God is doing in your life right now.

    Don,

    Thanks for sharing. Pride issues are difficult. I hope there are some people around you who can help you and encourage you in the Lord.

    Tim,

    Yep. I’ve been there before.

    -Alan

  18. 4-20-2012

    Alan Knox says:

    Howard,

    We cannot obey Jesus if our “flesh and blood” is not obeying his as well. All of Jesus’ commands require our “flesh and blood” obedience: love one another

    Sorry Alan I beg to differ, for we are in the new covenant not the old.
    all commands from Jesus prior to the death of Christ was under the old covenant New covenant was not in place until the death Hebrews 9:15,16
    Under the new covenant we are to die to flesh and blood in our minds. Galations 5:16 walk in the spirit and you shall not fulllfill the lusts of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh. Flesh and Spirit does not mx, just like grace and law. Physical example: oil and water cannot mix. You can stir it up as a lot of believers are doing yet it goes right back to seperating. No flesh and blood in god’s sight will ever please God. God is Spirit and only can be worshipped in Spirit and truth. Nicodemus was a teacher and did not understand born again, first born of water, this is flesh and blood, then born of the sprit of God. this is spirit and there is no mixing it. It is written all over the bible to die daily to what? your own flesh and blood, my own flesh and blood. Paul even called his own learning of his own flesh Dung, he counted his flesh and blood worthless. I do not remember all the scripture places, yet they are there and all of you that have read already know these are true. Flesh and blood is emnity with God. So i die daily and see as well as learn the differance. When I have been taught by God on this then act and react accordingly. Love you man hoping you see the differance between flesh and blood verses Spirit Holy.
    Love eternally Howard

  19. 4-20-2012

    Howard,

    After Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection – i.e., under the new covenant – Jesus gave commands (make disciples, feed my sheep, etc.) that required “flesh and blood” obedience. Again, you’re making a false distinction. We do not enter into God’s kingdom by “flesh and blood.” But, since we are in God’s kingdom, our “flesh and blood” can now obey God by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us.

    Thank you bringing up Paul. Look at all the commands and exhortations that Paul wrote. Those can only be followed if the readers are BOTH part of the kingdom of God AND their “flesh and blood” are under submission and obedient. You can’t have one without the other in the kingdom of God

    -Alan

  20. 4-20-2012

    Howard,

    By the way, Paul is also a great example of someone who dragged his “flesh and blood” around the world in service of others in the name of Jesus. He often reminded people how hard he worked and then told them “follow my example.” That’s alot different than what you’re saying.

    -Alan

  21. 4-20-2012

    Alan Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are all a part of the old Testamemt prior to the death of Christ for Christ came to full fill the Law and Prophets Matthew 5:17. Then Jesus went out showing and proving who he was as well as is. He showed right down to the Pharisees how they were not perfect, and that there was no way they could ever obey the law.
    To the point of if you so much as lust after a woman, you have already failed. so if you want to go to heaven gouge out your eye, better for pert of you to go to heaven than all of you to enter hell. This was Jesus showing us our inability to go to heaven. Even the disciples asked him after the Lord’s prayer was said to them. They asked Jesus well then how is it possiblre for any of us to make it to heaven, since i can not obey this law entirely. Jesus said with man it is impossible, but with god his Father all things are possible. Then the cross came where all are (past tense) forgiven, but not all are saved, and since we all have been forgiven in christ, how much more shall we be saved by his life, we are not saved by his death, we are saved by his life Romans 5:10. we are on this side of the cross Brother where we are forgiven looking back at the dividing line of human history BC and AD.
    Love you Alan deeply and everyone else here
    Ps after Jesus had filled what he came to fill, which is the old covenant, and prophets. He yelled out IT IS FINISHED AND GAVE UP THE GHOST John 19:30 and plese then go to Hebrews 9:15 and read onward through seeing this new covenant from god’s vantage point. Thank you for being a brother in christ also see Hebrews 7 in the order of Melchizadek
    A new priesthood, we are no longer under the Levitical priesthood
    Thanks howard

  22. 4-20-2012

    Howard,

    Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were written after Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection by people living in the new covenant to people living in the new covenant. I do not disagree with anything that you say about forgiveness. I agree that salvation is impossible for man but possible for God. That’s not the point of these posts. I’m talking to and about people who are already in Christ by the grace of God and are learning to following him.

    You have not replied to my points about Jesus’ commands after his resurrection or about Paul’s exhortations – all of which require “flesh and blood” obedience.

    I’ll pick one command in particular: Was it possible for Jesus’ followers to “make disciples” (Jesus’ command after his resurrection) without the use of their “flesh and blodd”? If you answer that question, then I think we can move forward.

    -Alan

  23. 4-20-2012

    Alan, I am sorry we are not seeing eye to eye, No flesh and blood will ever enter into God’s kingdom. Pauls flesh and blood was not alive yet it was for it was held alive by the Holy Ghost. Never the less he was crucified never the less he lives.
    Ex: a baby in the womb of a woman is alive because Mom breathes for the baby, Mom lives for the baby, Mom eats for the baby. That baby is alive because of Mom.
    If we could talk to the Baby in the womb, the baby would say, He is crucified never the less he lives, because mom breathes, eats,feels touches, speaks for him. This is what the Holy Ghost is teaching all believers to be crucified, never the less live, for Christ in the Holy Ghost lives in their stead, we the believer no longer live we are crucified. Thank you for your opinion in and of the flesh and blood, for flesh and blood never wants to die it fights until you the soul see the light and kill the mortal deeds of the body through the Holy Ghost taking over, yet you have free will to not die to the flesh and blood. When you are finally worn out of flesh and blood striving, then you will see what I am saying to you, i have been there and am not saying anything against you, I have been in those shoes and when I came to the end of the energy of my own flesh I gave up and then I got shown truth that set me free from Bondage as Paul was set free from. So he could do three times as much for he was not taught by flesh and blood. he was taught by the Spirit of truth. Come all ye that heavy laden and burdened, take on my yoke, it s easy, and my burden it is light. God just loves you.
    Love you Alan and all the rest that are seeking rest Howard

  24. 4-20-2012

    Howard,

    And I am sorry that you are refusing to answer my one question. It is the basis for this entire series of posts.

    I am also crucified in Christ, nevertheless, I live because I am alive in Christ – he lives through me. I do not strive to be right with God through my flesh and blood nor do I seek entrance into the kingdom of God through my flesh and blood. I rest completely in Christ and in him alone.

    Now… back to my question to you that you didn’t answer: Was it possible for Jesus’ followers to “make disciples” (Jesus’ command after his resurrection) without the use of their “flesh and blodd”? If you answer that question, then I think we can move forward.

    -Alan

  25. 4-20-2012

    Thank you bringing up Paul. Look at all the commands and exhortations that Paul wrote. Those can only be followed if the readers are BOTH part of the kingdom of God AND their “flesh and blood” are under submission and obedient. You can’t have one without the other in the kingdom of God

    -Alan

    “flesh and blood” are under submission and obedient

    No flesh and blood is able to be 100% obedient Jesus showed this so no flesh and blood shall ever enter into the kingdom. The devil work has been cursed to flesh and blood at the cross of Christ, then anew covenant went into effect, which i wqritten to you priorly.

    Alan we are saying the same thing,yet not the same, flesh and blood are under submission to the Holy Ghost through dying to the thoughts of flesh and blood. God is Spirit and can only be worshipped in Spirit and truth, but no flesh and blood can enter into the kingdom unless the flesh and blood is a torso, all parts cut off from sin. this way no sin can enter into the kingdom. All sin is condemned to flesh and blood.
    Be born again, seek from The almighty God of Jesus in your own hearts and minds. For God will show you the truth and that truth will set you free
    Howard

  26. 4-20-2012

    Now… back to my question to you that you didn’t answer: Was it possible for Jesus’ followers to “make disciples” (Jesus’ command after his resurrection) without the use of their “flesh and blodd”? If you answer that question, then I think we can move forward.

    -Alan
    There bodies were vessels for the Holy Ghost and the Holy Ghost came 10 days after Jesus ascended, Yes ther were many that received the holy Ghost that day and made disciples of them Not the disciples but the Holy Ghost through the disciples. It was and still is from power on high, we are just the vessels that we willingly want not only for the Holy Ghost (JESUS) to live in us but through us. If flesh and blood could have acomplished the task at hand then there would have been no waiting for the Holy Ghost of promise at the day of pentecost.
    Howard, now let’s move on brother

  27. 4-20-2012

    Howard,

    I would love to move on, but you still didn’t answer my question.

    This was my question: Was it possible for Jesus’ followers to “make disciples” (Jesus’ command after his resurrection) without the use of their “flesh and blodd”? If you answer that question, then I think we can move forward.

    -Alan

  28. 4-20-2012

    Imagine being with people where you could honestly answer, “What are you struggling to obey right now?”

    Now imagine they don’t shrink away from you.

    Finally, imagine they respond in this way, “We don’t try to tell each other what Jesus wants us to do to follow him. We simple pray for and encourage one another to follow in whatever struggle we’re having.”

    I can’t imagine.

  29. 4-20-2012

    without the use of their “flesh and blodd”? If you answer that question, then I think we can move forward.

    -Alan
    Yes God did use their dead flesh and blood and quickened them to live in the spirit, yet God never had to do it this way. w/o this no one could have life
    Love you Alan

  30. 4-20-2012

    Art,

    It’s amazing and encouraging and challenging all at the same time.

    Howard,

    Hopefully, you can now see the point of this post. We can help and encourage each other to abide in Christ, and we can also help and encourage each other to “submit our flesh and blood to God” – just as the authors of the New Testament exhorted their readers to both aspects of following Jesus. They are both important steps in helping people follow Jesus as his disciples.

    -Alan

  31. 4-20-2012

    Thanks alan, all things work towards the good to those who are called, to those that love, whom are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
    love Howard

  32. 4-10-2013

    This 60second clip describes what you are talking about. Thanks for the post. http://vimeo.com/63405255

  33. 7-3-2013

    A very interesting segment Mr. Knox. At 43years I don’t think I have been around long enough to know and understand what it is TO LIVE, but through the Grace of Jesus which convicts me of all the sins I commit, I have reached a point in my life where I have come to conclusion that , to be in total submission to God is to LEARN ( through the help of God) to learn to “properly” use one’s own earthly members i.e the Eyes,mouth(speech), legs ( tread towards the right places), hands(to make an HONEST living and help others as and when possible) etc etc. Now, of all our fleshly members I have come to realize that THE HEART is that which we need to pray about most, for the Spirit of God to teach us to STAY IT on God’s principles of LIVING UNTO HIM. Yes God’s RULES. There is no way of knowing that our hearts/spirits have received the much needed strength……unless……..it has been tested in the field of temptations……and it has triumphed. Thus when we ask for the Holy Spirit to come and dwell with us, we are indirectly asking for the troubles of the accuser of the brethren to prove us worthy of The Presence of God’s Spirit in us, thus we should have renewed thinking about the TRIALS OF LIFE.
    Only a heart proved worthy of God in trials and temptations can ignite the MIND to fully embrace God. THE MIND it is said, and we know, does control ALL, but it all starts from the heart. The MIND that is thus stayed on the Commandments of God is THE MIND OF CHRIST revived in us by The Holy Spirit. Such a mind controls and reins in all the “lower” members ( eyes, hands, legs etc) in a Holy and righteous alignment with the commandments of Jesus.
    I cannot say I drink or smoke or commit adultery etc , but I do get angry at times…at my children( seldom on the mother), and at people who drive oblivious to the safety of other road users. Last week I yelled at one such drivers who I realised a second late, that he was a good friend of mine….oh the shame I felt aferwards!! This incident has thought me the lesson that if such a good friend of mine could inadvertently cause me grief, then of course I might have UNJUSTLY berated others in the past. Mr. Alan Knox, my gracious friend, I have come to realise that life is like being IN A TRAFFIC ; if someone suddenly cuts across our path or break suddenly in front of us, perharps its only because the driver in front of that driver might have caused it in the first place. Let us all in THE BODY and in our individual “flesh and blood” always try to look past our supposed “enemies” and realise that they are also being oppressed by our COMMON ENEMY , SATAN.

  34. 7-3-2013

    Knowing that OUR COMMON ENEMY , THE ANTICHRIST, causes us to wrong each other or rub each other the wrong way , the best way out of this situation is to CLOSE OUR RANKS by forgiving each other at all times so that the Devil is put to shame. As we close our ranks in this manner , we should at the same time learn to keep our bodily temples Holy unto God , so that the HOLY Spirit gets enthroned in us. There are sins of the flesh that work against the Holy Spirit in us and hence against our own spirits ; e.gs of which are found in Galatians 5:19-21.

  35. 7-4-2013

    Franklin,

    I love the idea of “closing ranks” by forgiving one another. :)

    -Alan