Tuesday, September 15, 2009

To be a disciple...

When your heart was opened to the tremendous reality of your sin and the Cross and you knew Christ as your Redeemer, Lord, and King, what did you reckon yourself to be?
“dead to sin” – Rom 6:11
“you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” – Col 3:3
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” – Gal 2:20

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” – Matt 28:19-20

Jesus’ great commission continues today, making disciples of all nations. When we are reborn, we are from that moment on disciples of Christ. A disciple is a learner and a pupil. A disciple lives his/her life directly under the authority of the Teacher. There is no swaying or turning from the teachings, commandments, rules, and standards of the Teacher.
“be holy, for I am holy” – Lev. 11:44
This is elementary. Such knowledge is not new to us.

So, then why are Christians the most negligent pupils on this planet?
One of the reasons is that “we are contented with easy satisfaction in our spiritual lives” (Oswald Chambers). “We have suffered from the preaching of cheap grace. Grace is free, but it is not cheap. People will take anything that is free, but they are not interested in discipleship. They will take Christ as Savior but not as Lord” (Vance Havner).
This is where many take a debilitating fall after they’ve been brought out of “Egypt.” Just as the Israelites failed to enter the Promised Land because of their lack of faith and their love for ordinary things, so we also fail to enter in to God’s promises because we yield to the same. We’re contented to merely be Christians, but not to LIVE as Christians. Living out our lives in faith and discipline is just something we don’t want to do because it requires training and work in our spiritual lives. This is an attitude that marks most of Christian youth because the world has got our attention.
The world has us. It has enraptured and dazzled us in every way.
That should terrify us.
By our feeble judgment it could be just a “little” distraction. It could be things as innocent as an obsession with gaming, TV, gadgets (like the latest iPhone), or boyfriends and girlfriends (and even the impatient, unruly desire to have one). This list is exhaustive in our lives; it could be anything or everything. We could be hanging on any little thing at this moment. Anything that has our focus, our time, our thoughts, our energy, and even our emotions is our special “little” god.

Accepting Christ as Lord means He is Lord over your ENTIRE life. You don’t get to live for yourself as a disciple, but you do get the joy and freedom of knowing the unfathomable abundance of grace, mercy, love, and wisdom of the Lord. But you cannot know it until you begin living for Him alone.
What does living for Christ alone mean?

“It means self-discipline. “If ye continue in my word, then ye are my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Freedom begins way back. It begins not with doing what you want but with doing what you ought – that is, with discipline. To be a disciple means to be disciplined” – Elisabeth Elliot

We know this to be true. We just don’t know it as a reality because we never lived it. We are like children. But we have lived as children do for far too long. This day we are called forward to maturity in Christ. Children think only of today and its pleasures. A child is focused on self and does not naturally hold to any standards.
“Maturity starts with the willingness to give oneself. Childishness is characterized by self-centeredness. It is only the emotional and spiritually mature who are able to lay down their lives for others" (E. Elliot).
Prisoner reformer, Sir Alexander Paterson, once wrote “make us masters of ourselves that we may be the servants of others.”

Such maturity is reflected in the daily life of a disciple.
“The way you keep your house, the way you organize your time, the care you take in your personal appearance, the things you spend your money on all speak loudly about what you believe. “The beauty of Thy peace,” shines forth in an ordered life. A disordered life speaks loudly of disorder in the soul” (E. Elliot).
Before I move forward, there is something that must be addressed. Namely, legalism. Those who are raised on the modern churchy mindset may immediately protest and question the mere mention of any work, training, or discipline in our spiritual lives because they’ve been taught that that is legalistic. My next post on this subject will discuss that.
For now, I encourage all to meditate upon the words of Jesus.

Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish.' Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple. – Luke 14:27-33

If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him. – John 12:16

When discipline becomes glad surrender, “Every day we experience something of the death of Jesus, so that we may also know the power of the life of Jesus in these bodies of ours.”

The true follower of Christ will not ask, "If I embrace this truth, what will it cost me? Rather he will say, "This is truth. God help me to walk in it, let come what may!”
A.W. Tozer

A true disciple inquires not whether a fact is agreeable to his own reason, but whether it is in the book. His pride has yielded to the divine testimony. – Adoniram Judson

Discipleship means adherence to the person of Jesus, and therefore submission to the law of Christ which is the law of the cross. - Dietrich Bonhoffer

Elisabeth Elliot quotes were taken from her books, Discipline: The Glad Surrender and Let Me Be a Woman