Discipleship to Jesus is about “hearing and doing.” It’s about paying attention to what Jesus is saying and then putting his teaching into practice (as he makes clear in the Sermon on the Mount).
But as I’ve practiced this and discipled others, it seems our imagination for “doing” is significantly impoverished. Most people think about “doing” as either
- Primarily cognitive (I’m going to “think about it” some more), or
- Primarily corrective (Here’s how I’m going to fix my brokenness).
But neither of those ways of “doing” our discipleship results in transformation. The cognitive approach keeps our response in the realm of our thoughts only, ignoring the power and opportunity of bodily habits.
The corrective approach keeps me firmly in control of the discipleship process, solving problems and fixing myself. God actually is unnecessary, except to give me information about what to “work on.”
So if we want to see real transformation, our “doing” in discipleship can’t be primarily cognitive or corrective. Instead, we need to learn how to practice “doing” that is primarily cooperative.
This means we are co-operating with God in our discipleship, learning to surrender to the good news that God is proclaiming to us in the specific contexts of our lives, and then participate more fully in his love in our everyday lives.