We are disciples of the most influential rabbi to have ever walked the earth. So, what does that mean for your life? Well, it means a lot. But let’s start with a short list. Lists are fun! Here are seven things every disciple of Yeshua should do every month.
1. Ask Questions about Your Faith
Asking questions is an inherent part of Judaism. By asking questions, we probe our faith to make sure it’s real. We want to understand the Torah. We want to know God. That means asking questions to learn more about Judaism, and it means asking hard questions. Don’t run away from doubt and challenges to your faith. Believe me, the Torah and faith in Yeshua are strong enough to withstand your questions. So ask, engage, and be real about your faith. Yeshua said, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7).
2. Study the Words of Yeshua
A good friend of mine often tells people that since there are about thirty days in a month, you could read about a chapter a day from any one of the four Gospels and complete the whole thing in a month. Since we are disciples of Yeshua, our most basic goal should be to know what he taught. Otherwise, how can we be his disciples? Live with Yeshua’s words ringing in your ears.
Yeshua prayed all the time. We find him praying alone, all night long, a few times in the Gospels (Luke 6:12). He taught his twelve disciples how to pray for the kingdom of God. As a pious Jew, our Master prayed the traditional synagogue prayers and poured out his heart to the Master of the World in his own words. Praying is hard work sometimes, and at other times it flows out easily. So, get comfortable talking to God from your heart.
4. Give Tzedakah
One of the enduring legacies of character that the world associates with Yeshua is kindness to the poor and the disenfranchised. Yeshua would lift up the spirits of the downtrodden and remind his disciples to care for them. As Yeshua’s hands and feet in the world, a big part of our mission is to be comforting hands and say healing words to those who need love. Our Master said, “But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing” (Matthew 6:3). Develop the habit of giving to others even if it is just a small amount each month.
5. Act as Yeshua Did
We have seen something beyond special in Yeshua that has led us to commit our lives to his guidance. Even more, we have been convinced that Yeshua rose from the dead and that HaShem has appointed him as the Messiah. Those are big claims. Refer to #1 above if you are still working through any of those. ;) But if you are convinced of those things then you should aspire to imitate Yeshua. You should try to be like him. His example is of perfect righteousness, and even though we often fall short of that standard, disciples strive for it daily. So, throughout your month think, “How would Yeshua act in this situation?”
6. Support and Encourage other Disciples
One of my favorite things that our Master ever said is, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another” (John 13:34). Yeshua’s disciples around the world form a kind of family, and it is part of our discipleship to encourage one another. If you have a friend or a sibling who is a disciple of Yeshua, encourage their faith by sharing what you are learning. Invite them over for a Shabbat meal, encourage the youth in your congregation to learn something together, or get a group to sing songs together. Without each other, we are alone. Together we grow.
7. Long for the Messianic Era
Finally, disciples of Yeshua long for his return and the appearance of the kingdom of God. We want to see peace on earth, the rebuilding of the Temple, and the reign of Messiah, which will bring the whole world to the knowledge of God. Try to remember that there is a better reality and a better world toward which we are building. All the above are mitzvot that you can do to contribute to the coming of Messiah. Also, remember to long for it, and hope for that time. All things will be made new, and “he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).
If you’ve read to this point, it seems that you want to grow as a disciple. That’s awesome! Ask yourself, “Do I do these things regularly? Over the course of a month do I hit these seven things a few times?” If not, challenge yourself to cover this list in the coming month.
Let’s all improve as disciples of Yeshua.