Disciple Life

We all have different types of lives. There is thought life, love life, work-life, and so on. We spend a good amount of time looking at and discussing these different lives and for good reason. How we think determines our actions. When we think of the right things, we typically, do the right things. Paul writes in Philippians 4:8 that we should think about good things. In all honesty, a case could be made that Paul talks about our thought life a lot. He says things like, be innocent of evil but wise about good, transform our minds, have the mind of Christ, and on and on. God cares a great deal about our thought life. Our love life is important because it should be healthy and biblical. When a couple has a bad love life, other areas of their life suffer as well. Our work life is important because we spend a great deal of time at work. On average we spend about 1/3 of our lives at work. A bad work-life will spill over to other areas. But what about our life as a disciple of Jesus?

I believe that our life as a disciple is made up of at least 4 other lives just like how our thought life, love life, and work-life create a bigger life. I will not get unto too much detail with them, but they are our Word life, our worship life, our prayer life, and our service life. When we look at what it means to be a disciple of Jesus these are 4 key areas of what we do and where we live (so to speak). Whenever I am counseling someone, discipling someone, or walking through a problem with someone these are the 4 areas that I want to know about first because as disciples as Jesus everything comes from that place.

Our Word life is how much time or devotion are we giving to God’s Word. If we believe that the Bible is the Word of God and that He communicates truth to us through it then it makes good sense to read it and know it. If we are to be transformed in the way, we think then we need to read the Bible and allow the truth found therein to transform us.

Our worship life is how much time or devotion do we give to giving God the praise He so rightly deserves. I will admit as a new Christian I struggled here because I thought of it only as singing. I found more growth from reading the Bible and gaining knowledge and wisdom then I did from praising God. My worship life was weak, but the more I learned about God the more it drove me to worship Him. It is about having an attitude of worship and praise that is directed towards God. He is the Lord of the universe, the maker and sustainer of all things, does He not deserve our praise?

Our prayer life is how much time or devotion do we give to praying to and listening to God. The best description I heard for prayer was to think of it as a currency exchange. In prayer, we take our thoughts, wants, desires, and pleas to God and exchange them for what He has for us. So many times, in prayer we stop short of receiving from God what He would want to give to us because we end the conversation after we list our side. Prayer connects us to the Lord Almighty so why would we not spend time in prayer. I love the song What a friend we have in Jesus. One of the verses says “Oh, what peace we often forfeit, Oh, what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.” I have prayed with people and seen them delivered from all sorts of things because they took the time to bring it to God in prayer. We have to remember that talking about God is different than talking to God.

Our service life is about how much time or devotion do we give to walking as Jesus walked. Jesus came not to be served but to serve and we are called to walk as He walked (1 John 2:6). We are called to emulate Christ and that means doing what He did. Isaiah wrote about this when talking about what an acceptable fast was. We are called to feed the homeless, clothe the poor, love the wounded, care for the sick, and so on. The amount we serve will be related to the amount we love God. James writes that if we send someone away with only a verbal blessing and not actually care for them, we have shown what our faith really is (empty).

When we get our Word life, worship life, prayer life, and service life right we move closer to the heart of God and that is what we are called to do as disciples. We are called to be transformed into the image of the Son and become more like Him. We are called to be mature believers of Jesus and to move forward. So, the question is if we find that we are not becoming more like Jesus then what do we need to do?

Just a thought,

Mike

 

Supposed To

Have you ever thought that you were made for more? This feeling that where you are now is not your destination but a stepping stone or that you are just in a waiting period. Not an I want more feeling but an I am supposed to do/be more knowing that you just cannot shake. I separate these two things because “I want more” can change depending on feelings and distractions but a “supposed to” hardly changes. The difference is between feeling and knowing. If you just have the want more my advice would be to figure out what the supposed to is and then focus on that. Wants are a good place to start but they are not strong enough to drive you. They are not concrete enough to strengthen you. You can get distracted and carried away by something else and that is ok if you are still trying to figure it out but a supposed to that’s a different story. A want to makes you say I’ll try while a supposed to makes you I’m all in.

I think it is clear I want to take a minute and talk about the supposed to. A supposed to is usually birthed out of a desire (I want), but it has been refined. It has been honed and shaped. It has been tested and its weight is known. It has gone through the fire so to speak and has come out harder. The very nature of a supposed to is to be hard. It is hard to make, hard to have, and hard to break. They are too hard to make because you cannot just wake up with it. You start with a desire and then test it out a little. You see if it can hold up. It is hard to have because it will push you. It does not let you settle for less. It needs to be hard to break because people and the world will try to break it.

Joseph and David are good examples of having a supposed to. The story of Joseph, in particular, is good to look at because his started with a clear want to and was tested over and over. David is also good to look at because he was tested by those closest to him.

Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers. I have four younger brothers and I contemplated selling them into slavery many times but I never actually went through with it. His brothers, on the other hand, had little issue with the idea. Joseph was the family favorite and because of his dreams and big mouth he went to Egypt. Joseph was good at everything he did. God’s favor was always on Joseph you could say he had the Midas touch. Every position he was put in he excelled at. Yard work? Check. Financial management? Check. Cooking? Check. Leadership? Check. It did not matter what he was doing he did it well. When he was thrown into prison he excelled there too. He was literally running the place in no time. Joseph was great at all of these things but these were not the things he was supposed to do. There is a very important lesson here and I am afraid that it is only half given a lot of times.

The first part is that you need to do well in whatever position you find yourself in. If you are a clerk be a great clerk, if you are a janitor be a great janitor, if you are a Sunday school teacher be a great Sunday school teacher. Whatever position you find yourself in do it to the best of your ability even if it is not where you are supposed to be. This is the part of the lesson I think we all know. We have heard it a thousand times but there is more and it is not hidden. It is right there in Genesis 40:14 and it where Joseph says to the cupbearer “but when all goes well for you, remember that I was with you.” Joseph was doing the things he had to do but he never forgot what he was supposed to do. He excelled where he was at and looked for opportunities to get to get to his supposed to. If your supposed to is not hard then you will settle and if you settle then you lose it. Joseph was not supposed to be in prison he was supposed to do great things. On to David.

David was a wonderful shepherd. He protected his flock by fighting a bear and a lion. That takes guts. He was a talented musician and I would imagine he was pretty good armor bearer (even though I am not sure what that means). He was a great poet and he was a wonderful friend. David was good at all of these things but they were not his supposed to. David was anointed by Samuel to be king and his destiny was not to be a shepherd. His first big test to his supposed to or you can think of it as a “meant for” was not against Goliath but against his brother and Saul. If your supposed to is not hard then you will let others determine your position and worth. His brother questioned his motives and suggested he was irresponsible (1 Sam 17:28). Saul tried to make him more like him (1 Sm 17:38). Saul is a great example of what will often happen to you when you try to live out your supposed to. People will kind of get on board with you and help you but first, you need to conform to their idea of how to execute the plan. If your supposed to is not resolved (hard) then you will break and end up coming up short. David put the armor on and then realized that he could not do the job dressed up like someone else. He needed to be who he was and do it the way God had taught him.

In both Joseph and David, we can see examples of how a supposed to is made and tested. These things are great to look at but unless you apply them to your own life then nothing will change for you. Unless we can take this and ask ourselves if we have our supposed to then they are just nice stories. If you already have your supposed to then take this as encouragement to keep going. If you know your supposed to and are living it then find someone who does not have theirs or someone who is working towards theirs and be a blessing.

Don’t settle for less than you were made for. Jesus did not come to save you and leave you stuck. He has great and wonderful plans for you. Jesus says in John 15 “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.” God wants you to bear much fruit as be a disciple of Jesus. That does not mean wealth or health but an abundant and full life. Why settle for less if God wants more for you?

Just a thought,
Mike