A disciple’s love is more than an emotion, a warm feeling, or a sentiment. Love is a heart commitment to give oneself to another in service. When we love God, then we give our lives to Him in service and devotion. We lay down the right to claim our lives for ourselves, we pick up our cross, and we follow the One who bore the cross for us (Mark 8:34–35). These instructions from the Lord Jesus summarize the very essence of what it means to be His disciple. On the other hand, when we love others, we seek selflessly to serve them. The disciple’s goal is to be a servant rather than a lord or master. To be like Christ, we must take the lowly position of humility and seek, as He did, not to be served but to serve and to give our lives for the good of those around us (10:42–45).
Second, the life of a disciple is to be a life of reflection. Moses does not merely emphasize the need for devotion but states that if we love the Lord (Deut. 6:5), we are to love and meditate on His Word. “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart” (v. 6). As the Puritan pastor Matthew Poole stated it, the Scriptures are to be “in thy mind to remember them, and meditate upon them, and in thy affection to love and pursue them.” Christian discipleship should involve both meditation on and memorization of the Bible. The term translated “meditate” in the Old Testament means “to mutter.” We are to mutter over God’s Word, repeating its phrases and sentences to understand them and draw from them their sweetness and spiritual nourishment. As we mutter over God’s Word, we will store it in our minds for future recall and use as the Spirit’s sword (see Eph. 6:17). We will hide Scripture in our hearts so that we might not sin against our Lord and Savior (see Ps. 119:11).
Third, devotion and reflection should lead to instruction. The Israelites were to teach God’s Word to the next generation (Deut. 6:7). They were to talk about the Scriptures when they were at home, when they were out accomplishing their daily tasks, when they went to bed at night, and when they got up in the morning. They were to keep the Scriptures close to the forefront of their minds, always within reach (vv. 8–9). Our Christian discipleship should be no different. God calls us to live a Bible-saturated life so that the truth of Scripture fills us to overflowing and spills from us in our speech. Then, by speaking God’s powerful Word, we make other disciples, men, women, and children who love the Lord and seek to walk in the way of devotion, reflection, and instruction because they, too, serve the only true and living God. This is the path of discipleship. This is the path of the Shema.