What is your purpose? Do you know? Many people struggle to discover what their purpose in life is. According to Jesus, it’s one thing. It’s two words—Make Disciples.
There are people today who live in leisure and luxury. While spending time at their deluxe beach condo or plush lake house you might hear one say, “I’m just living the life, baby! Just living the life!” But is that really living the life? Is luxury and leisure the true essence of living the life?
As followers of Jesus, we are called to a different kind of life. Jesus has called us to live the D-Life. He has called us to live a lifestyle of discipleship.
LET’S TALK ABOUT D-LIFE
First things first: D-Life refers to living a lifestyle of discipleship. D-Life is NOT a program; it’s a lifestyle. It involves a personal choice to make disciples as a habitual way of life. Jesus Christ has called all of His followers to live the D-Life. Every follower of Christ should be in an intentional relational environment where he or she is either being discipled or making disciples.
In Mark 3:13-15, Jesus officially began His personal journey of making disciples and modeling a lifestyle of discipleship.
Mark 3:13-15 – And He went up on the mountain and called to Him those whom He desired, and they came to Him. And He appointed twelve (whom He also named apostles) so that they might be with Him and He might send them out to preach and have authority to cast out demons.
At the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, He called together a rather ordinary group of men to be His first disciples. They were not highly educated or greatly gifted. Jesus chose common, regular people to be His first disciples to show us that anybody can live the D-Life.
D-LIFE IS OUR SUPREME PURPOSE IN LIFE
The Gospel of Mark tells us that Jesus called twelve men “so that they might be with Him and He might send them out to preach.”
- Making disciples is Christ-Life.
D-Life is our supreme purpose in life, because we are called to be like Jesus. Few things are more Christ-like than “making disciples.” The bulk of Jesus’ three-year public ministry was involved in His personal investment in these men. He intentionally trained them to be disciples who would go out and make other disciples.
- Making disciples is commanded.
Secondly, D-Life is our supreme purpose in life, because Jesus commanded us to “make disciples.” The first command of Christ to His followers is found in Matthew 4:19. Jesus said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” If we are not fishing for men, then we are not following Jesus.
The last command of Jesus to His followers is found in Matthew 28:18-20. In His resurrected body just before He ascended back into Heaven, Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
As Jesus gave His final instructions to His followers, His words were emphatically clear. There’s only one verb in Jesus’ Great Commission. That one verb is “make” disciples.
According to Jesus, our lives should involve a never-ending process of making disciples who make disciples. This is our supreme purpose in life.
D-LIFE HAS A SIMPLE PLAN TO FOLLOW
Jesus modeled a simple plan for living the D-Life. Jesus made it so simple that the ragtag group of men He called as His first disciples could follow the plan. If they could do it, we can do it.
In Mark 3:13-14, Jesus “went up on the mountain and called to Him those whom He desired, and they came to Him. And He appointed twelve (whom He also named apostles) so that they might be with Him and He might send them out to preach.” There are two simple things Jesus called His disciple to do: 1) to be with Him, and 2) to send them out to preach.
For the three years of Jesus’ public ministry His disciples were called to be “with Him.” They did everything with Him. Also, Jesus would “send them out” to do ministry.
By reading the Gospels, we learn there are six practices of D-Life that Jesus modeled for us. These six practices are the basics of living a lifestyle of discipleship. If we want to live the D-Life, we must follow these six practices that Jesus modeled.
The six practices of D-Life are fellowship, teaching, prayer, ministry, multiplication, and accountability. Jesus modeled all six of these practices in the relational environment of a small discipleship group.
In D-Life, we refer to a discipleship group as a “D-Group.” A D-Group is a small group of three to eight people who meet anytime and anywhere for the purpose of intentional discipleship. Jesus had twelve in His group, but we are not Jesus. For us, D-Groups of three to eight people are best for our success.
To live a lifestyle of discipleship as Jesus modeled it, every D-Group must participate in all six practices of D-Life.
Intimate fellowship is the first basic practice of living the D-Life. D-Groups provide small relational environments where three to eight people can experience intimate fellowship.
To start living the D-Life, you must take the initiative to prayerfully invite three to eight people to join with you in a D-Group. D-Groups can meet anytime and anywhere. They can meet at a workplace, a church, a restaurant, a home, a park, or a gym. You can share a meal, drink coffee, or workout together.
Diversity in age and spiritual maturity will enhance the dynamics of your D-Group. It’s great to have senior adults and young adults as well as college students and high school students in a D-Group. In your D-Group, you also want mature believers, new believers, struggling believers, and unbelievers involved in your fellowship.
Teaching the Bible is the second basic practice of living the D-Life. D-Groups will commit to daily Bible reading and to joining together weekly for an interactive Bible study.
Jesus taught using stories called parables. He kept His teaching simple. When He met with His disciples in private, they would discuss the things He taught.
In living the D-Life, we too must keep it simple. The Bible is our only textbook. Getting men, women, and teenagers to read their Bibles daily is a main priority of D-Life.
The simple goal of every D-Group is to read through the New Testament in one year by reading one chapter a day five days a week.
In addition, D-Groups will meet together once a week for an interactive Bible study from one of the Bible chapters read that week. Interactive Bible study is one in which everyone participates.
Weekly assignments will be made regarding group participation. The goal is to involve everyone in a group discussion of the Bible passage. By letting different people lead the group each week we are training them for future leadership of a D-Group.
Praying together is the third basic practice of living the D-Life. D-Groups will pray together and practice the discipline of fervent prayer in their daily lives.
D-Groups will incorporate meaningful prayer times into their weekly meetings. We will take prayer requests and pray for one another, our families, our churches, our leaders, our nation, and our world.
A weekly priority of every D-Group is to pray for revival and spiritual awakening in our land.
Ministry and evangelism outside the walls of the church is the fourth basic practice of living the D-Life. D-Groups will share in ministry to one another and in “outside the walls” ministry and evangelism projects.
The minimum goal of every D-Group is to participate together in one community ministry and evangelism project every two months.
Real discipleship cannot occur by merely studying the Bible together in a classroom. We must go out and do ministry together. Ministering together is a part of discipleship. It is the way Jesus did it.
Multiplication of D-Groups is the fifth basic practice of living the D-Life.
A major goal of every D-Group is to multiply within one to two years. Remaining together until Jesus returns is not our purpose. The goal is multiplication.
Loving spiritual accountability is the sixth basic practice of living the D-Life. Spiritual accountability is vital in a relational environment committed to spiritual growth and overcoming spiritual strongholds. All who participate in a D-Group must open their hearts to be held accountable to all six practices involved in living the D-Life.
D-LIFE HAS THE SPIRITUAL POWER TO TRANSFORM LIVES
Mark 3:15 says that Jesus gave His disciples “authority to cast out demons.” People today still battle with Satan and demonic spiritual strongholds.
Through Christ we have authority over Satan. Powerful spiritual transformation can occur through the loving accountability of D-Groups. Spiritual strongholds related to alcohol, drugs, pornography, sexual identity issues, and many others can be conquered through D-Life.
In John 14:12, Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.” The main works that Jesus did involved making disciples. He literally poured his life into discipling twelve men and training them to live a lifestyle of discipleship.
Jesus said that his followers would do these same works and that they would do even “greater works” than these. Because of what he did for us, Jesus’ followers will do greater works of discipleship than he did. What a great word of assurance! With this truth in mind, we must live the D-Life. As we live a lifestyle of discipleship the Holy Spirit will do great works and lives will be transformed.