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

 

Submission and Worship

Abraham put himself in a position of submission before God and God spoke to him.

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I love that Abraham put himself in a position of submission. When we see God for who He is our only response can be submission. When we see that His love is great, when we see that His righteousness is great, and when we see that His holiness is great our only response can be submission because we see that we are not but that He is.

Worship is partly an act of submission to God. When we think worship we typically think singing or even monetary offerings but worship is submitting to God and acknowledging that He is great. There are so many ways we can worship God and honestly I would rather not list some here because I don’t want to stifle your creativity but instead inspire you to find ways to worship God today.

I would encourage everyone to take some time to read something in your Bibles. Pick two or three chapters and read them straight through with a prayerful heart and just see what God would say to you. Then respond with worship to Him. I am sure He will speak to you on how you can worship Him. The important thing is that you submit to Him and acknowledge His greatness today.

How marvelous God’s greatness,
How glorious His might!
To this the world bears witness
In wonders day and night.
In form of flower and snowflake,
In morn’s resplendent birth,
In afterglow at even,
In sky and sea and earth.

– Valdimar Briem

Just a thought,

Mike

Loving God with your mind

In Job 19:25 Job, in the midst of his struggle makes a profound statement when he says “But I know my living Redeemer, and He will stand on the dust at last” (HCSB). I think this is important to remember when discussing why we should value the life of the mind. It was by Job’s knowing or understanding with his mind that he was able to place his confidence in God. His knowledge led him to have a faith that went beyond what he saw in the situation and gave him clarity. Feelings and emotions can play tricks on us. They can deceive us and make us focus solely on the situation at hand but knowing helps navigate us to truth. This is why Hebrews 11:1 says that faith is the substance of things hoped for and evidence of things not seen. Faith can be blind but only in the context of it being sure and based on something. I do not blindly follow Christianity because someone told me too. I belong to the faith because I have tested it, examined it, and proved it with my heart, my experiences, and my mind. Jesus said we are to love God with our minds as well as our hearts and souls. From a biblical perspective, we are to worship God with our minds (Romans 12:1-2) and we are to love Him with our minds (Luke 10:27).  

Resistance in the church to value the mind is somewhat of a mystery to me. I want to give the benefit of the doubt though and suggest it is possibly a mix of tradition and an overwhelmed feeling. Many Christians have been taught to seek after God in prayer, to worship Him in song, and to not get caught up in the details. This has led many a believer to forget to engage the mind. As the old saying goes out of sight out of mind. If you are not thinking about increasing knowledge than you do not do it. It must become a habit. Others like myself struggle with verse memorization so we get discouraged and stop trying. When instead we must keep at it and work on our strengths. Sometimes I feel like Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof saying “as the good book says” only I know the good book actually says what I am saying. I am able to explain what the Bible says but I get confused on exactly where it is. I know I struggle here so I exercise my mind to work on it. People also become overwhelmed because of the sheer volume of information in the Bible

The mind is vitally important to spiritual growth and as J.P. Moreland says in his book Love God with all your mind “we can change our beliefs indirectly” (88). If I struggle with believing that God is good I cannot make myself believe that but I can read and study God’s claims for His being good and let the evidence change my mind and in turn that changes my perspective of everything else.

 

Just a thought,

Mike