Monday, November 26 2018
Hello again Everyone,
Continuing with our question "Are we Disciples", and do we wish to be? We can know that if, in our hearts, we desire to please the Lord and be apprenticed by Him. Even though we may be weak in confidence in ourselves, we can know that His hand is extended towards us, that He will be our confidence, strength, and reward if we but give our assent to come with Him and endeavor to obey Him.
The first step into discipleship is both our first step and every other step thereafter will be new in our journey as we are training to reflect His image. It inevitably involves at least four things: hearing with faith, sacrifice, (making the positive choice over the lesser), presevering in discipline, and resting in the reward. As we do this over and over in the course of our lives, we are being matured into the person and purpose for which we were created. In order to take these steps, disciples in faith discipline themselves to: Seek, Listen, Ask, Trust, Apply, and Rest His teachings to themselves and their lives.
They seek to hear God’s call to them, they seek to be with the Lord, they seek to learn from the Lord continually. It is an occupation of mind, heart, and body. School is in session 24 -7 wherever and everywhere the disciple is. Class was always in session with Jesus. Discipleship was a way of life. Jewish disciples were expected to observe their teachers/rabbis as they lived with them continually, to learn by asking questions, and then by applying, to their own lives, what they had observed. They learned by walking with someone, and then discovered/understood truth themselves as they applied in it their lives in the real world. What was learned in the classroom was meant to be realized and validated by experience. Teaching + experience = wisdom.
Disciples take time to listen to God by Reading Gods Word, meditating on the application of God’s Word to their life, by hearing faithful teachers in person, through books and media, and through the counsel of faithful family and friends. They believe Jesus when He says, “…the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.” John 6:63, and “that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.” Deut. 8:3. Listening for the disciple is abiding in the life of Christ. (John 15:4); “…be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Rom.12:2) ; "…did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?” (Galatians 3:2)
Disciples Pray for wisdom and grace to understand and apply what they learn. Disciples depend on God for their spiritual and material needs through their prayers. ‘But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5); Give us this day our daily bread.’ (Matt. 6 :11)
Disciples receive as truth, and as settled in their minds, whatever Jesus tells them. Trust is the exercise of “Faith”. This life of faith and trust becomes their lifestyle.“But the righteous man shall live by faith.” “Romans 1:17
Disciples apply what they have learned: First to their own minds, hearts, and lives, then to those things in their lives for which they have responsibility and authority. And then, as there is opportunity, to the broader world around them. “Observe all that I commanded you.” Matt.28:20
Disciples rest in the Reward of their faith. "All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness (Hebrews 12:11); He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6); His master said to him, "Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master. (Matthew 25:21)
At the heart of the pursuit of Discipleship is the work of disipline of at least these practices. But not just disipline for disiplines sake, disipline for a greater purpose. The Apostle Paul compares the disciple to an athlete in the book of 1Corinthians when he says, "Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable." We seek to be the Lord's Disciples for a purpose and a result much greater than merely our own benefit. Understanding this purpose and how it gives lift and energy to the pursuit of personal Discipleship in our lives now will be the subject of our next blog entry.
So, wherever in your journey these comments may find you, may they encourage you to make the next positive step, to take the HighRoads with our Lord toward the Sunlit Uplands.