Tag Archives: Discipleship

Growing Pains, Pt. 5 | “Discipleship”

Being Stretched

One of the most difficult things that we as Christians must face is ourselves. For the most part there is no greater barrier to spiritual growth than our own preconceived and long standing beliefs–or misbeliefs. It is hard to get rid of those ideas and thoughts that have guided us throughout our lives. This is more the case for adults than for children because when a child comes to Christ they have not lived too much life. They have not experienced as much or seen as much. A child comes in innocence and through the love and structure of a church and family can learn the faith without having to replace or undo other ideas and feelings and thoughts from outside sources. The child asks this question, “Is what I have been taught the truth?” The adult on the other hand asks a different question. An adult’s question is, “Why should I change what I already believe and hold to be true?” This fundamental difference is what causes the stretching in people’s lives.

For the child it is a struggle to hold on to what he or she has been taught. For the adult it is the process of replacing already held beliefs for Christian ones. And it is through the process of discipleship that the stretching occurs. It is through the struggle of finding the truth and learning to exercise faith that we become more and more like Jesus. Continue reading Growing Pains, Pt. 5 | “Discipleship”

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Growing Pains, Pt. 3 | “Service”

Prove It!

Caring for our neighbor is not something that can be passed by and overlooked as unimportant. Of all the things that Jesus said, the love of God and the love of neighbor are the most important. Jesus went so far as to say that upon these two commandments hang, hinge, stand, all of the law and the prophets (Matthew 22:34-40, NKJV). Everything that we, as Christians, believe and hold to be true can be summarized with these two statements. That is significant and should be treated in a way that reflects this.

While other religions in the world want to add more and more things to do, God says, “Here, just try these two.” In Christianity there is a shrinking of the requirements. And yet, the struggles that come from trying to do these two simple commandments are incredible.

As we go through this process of growing in faith we come to a very sharp and unyielding challenge. What are you doing WITH your faith? James, the brother of Jesus, tells us that faith without works is dead. We say you have faith! “Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works” (James 1:18, NKJV). If nothing has happened since we have professed, confessed and have been baptized, we should be some concern. Our faith was not meant for ourselves, but for those around us. That’s why God gave it to you.

Finding A Place To Serve

Service has a way of healing the one that is doing the work. This experience does not come from watching, but from doing. We must put our hands to the plow if we are going to see the fruit of that labor. We live in a society that tells us that we can have it all-at a very reasonable price. Well, the price that God found reasonable was the blood of His Son Jesus. That means that if we are going to have it all, then we must also pay the price that has been set, and that price is our service. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1, NKJV). What God expects is not unreasonable. We must learn to acknowledge this truth whenever we are tempted to say that “God would not…” followed by something we do not want to do.

To serve is to return to where God intended for us to be from the beginning. He commanded Adam to go and tend to the garden. Adam was not created to just recline on the soft grass and eat grapes and do nothing. Adam had a job and it was to see after the creation of God. The older I get the more I realize that it is in doing the simple things of God that I find the most joy.

What Are You Doing?

If there is anything at all that is hard about being a Christian it is this-we have to do something. To sit back and kick our feet up just will not do. I believe that God demands us to be proactive. It just is not good enough to do nothing because we will not be satisfied if we are not serving.

When we look at our lives do we think that God is pleased? This is not a question meant to bring guilt. If we cannot answer this question in a way the leaves a sense of peace in our hearts, then something has to change, someone is going to have to give. I can assure you of this, God will not be the one doing the moving.

It is true that I may not be able to judge the quantity or quality of faith that you have in your life, but there is one thing that the world can do and that is it can see and consider the effect that our professed faith has had or has not had in our lives. What do they see? The better question is what should they see?

The Two Questions That Will Destroy Your Faith

We Become What We Believe In

I was meeting with a friend this morning. As we ate breakfast we were talking about how we become who God wants us to be. We had been reading through Colossians and we came to the end of chapter three. That is where Paul says this.

12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:12-17, ESV)

In verses 12-13 we find the attributes of who we are supposed to be. We cannot just do these things. Something has to change inside of us so that we can become people who live like this. But in the next four verses we find that there are at least four things that can do, that God will use to transform us so we more closely reflect Christ. We have to “put on love,” “be thankful,” “let the word of Christ dwell in [me] richly,” “do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus.” If we do these things, God promises that we will see a change within us. Continue reading The Two Questions That Will Destroy Your Faith

Spiritual Starvation: The Reason Many Christian’s Struggle

Ok, so here is the deal. When I get hungry, I eat. When I get tired, I sleep. When I get discouraged, I eat. Just kidding on the last one. I usually go watch a movie or watch my kids play.

On a serious note though, if hunger is the sign that something needs to be put in our stomach’s, what are we supposed to put in our spiritual belly when we are spiritually hungry? This is a question that I have been trying to get my head and heart around over the last couple of months. I do not have this all figured out, but I think that I am going in the right direction. So, let me share with you what I have been thinking.

There are two places in the Gospel’s were Jesus says something about spiritual food. What makes these two instances interesting is that one has to do with consumption and the other has to do with activity. I am by no means the symbol of fitness or dietary excellence, but I know that if I want to be healthy I have to eat well and exercise or stay active.

This is what Jesus said. The first he said to the devil and the second he said to his disciples.

But he answered, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4, ESV)

31 Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” 32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” 33 So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” 34Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work….” (John 4:31-34, ESV)

Continue reading Spiritual Starvation: The Reason Many Christian’s Struggle