Archives For Discipleship

I love this quote from real estate mogul Gary Keller: “We don’t determine our lives; we determine our habits, and our habits determine our lives. That’s great advice for life and general, but I think it is quite applicable for our Christian walk as well. What habits are you building into your life that will lead you to living wholly devoted to God?

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Discipleship never happens by accident. It’s not something we stumble into. Discipleship is a choice, one we must make every day. To continue making the discipleship choice each day, we’re going to need habits in our lives to make this easier. Our habits form the disciplines essential for discipleship.

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Surrendering our lives to Jesus is not a trivial decision. It means leaving behind everything we have known and to place our trust in the hands of a God we’ve never seen. While “Surrendering your life to Christ” is a common phrase we hear in churches, I believe we do an insufficient job of explaining what such surrender means. Because surrender is a commonly understood word, I think we neglect to explain the ramifications of such a decision.

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Complete surrender is not conditional. There are no areas of our lives we get to keep for ourselves. There are no aspects of our personality over which we maintain control. Complete surrender is the only acceptable way by which we can be called true disciples of Jesus.

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Mahatma Gandhi had a famous quote: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” It’s great advice. I believe we as followers of Jesus can subscribe to a similar quote: “Be the church you are praying for”. When I pray for the body of Christ in the world, I pray we will always act in love. I pray we show grace and mercy to everyone we encounter.  Perhaps most of all, I pray for unity among believers.

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We are an incredibly diverse bunch, and there are as many opinions as there are Christians. Ultimately, the only thing that matters is we look like Jesus to the world around us. We can’t be the church until we demonstrate his love and beauty to everyone we meet, regardless of their ethnicity, background, or social standing.

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Reading A.W. Tozer, I was struck by a passage he wrote: “It cannot be but a major tragedy in the life of any man or woman to live in a church from childhood to old age and know nothing more real than some synthetic god compounded of theology and logic, but having no eyes to see, no ears to hear – and no heart to love!” How many of us have become content with a faith in Jesus which provides nothing more than a ticket to Heaven?

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Worse yet, how many have settled for a Christianity which makes little to no impact on the lives of those around us?  Is the life we are living worthy of what Christ endured for us on the cross?

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How are you doing, in this moment? In this season of life, where are you in your walk with Christ? What are you doing – right now – to reflect His love and character to those around you? In this moment, how are you living like Jesus? We don’t often go through our days pondering such questions, but why not? Why are we not consumed every minute with our Lord and Savior?

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How is it we believe almost everything except God is worthy of our focus? When did it become okay to ignore our pledge to be His servants and for Him to be our Lord? Perhaps the bigger question to ask in this moment is what are we going to do to correct the mess of wrong thinking we’ve allowed into our lives?

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My personality is such I try to become better every day. It’s the way I’m wired. What this means for me is, each day I look to improve my relationship with God and the way I live for Him. I look for ways to be better in my job, and to hone my writing craft. I am always on the lookout for processes and methodologies to make me more efficient and effective in everything I do. Truth be told, I’m probably a bit (or a lot) obsessive about these things.

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I am of the conviction God has given me gifts and talents to be used for His glory, and I have an extraordinary appreciation for the shortness of time. I want to maximize whatever He has entrusted to me so I might bring God immense glory and leave His mark on this world before I depart.

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Over the past couple of posts (see “In the Presence of God” and “Bible Study”), I’ve been looking at some foundational aspects of following Christ. We’ve discussed prayer and Bible study, which are the linchpins in getting to know God. Today I want to wrap it up by focusing on what I see as the third, and perhaps most important, tenet in living a life wholly devoted to God: practicing obedience.

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The reason I feel this might be the most important aspect of developing your relationship with Jesus is because the other two concern learning who He is and what He’d have you to do. Practicing obedience is all about taking what you’ve learned and putting it into action.

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In the last post (see “In the Presence of God”), we talked about the importance of establishing a daily time in prayer with God. Getting to know and understand Him will be the linchpin in learning to live the life you were created to live. The other side of the prayer coin is studying His Word. Reading the Bible is another way He speaks to us. I know this will be basic to those who have been following Christ for any length of time, but how many are actually taking time to engage with God’s Word daily?

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I’m not talking about a checkbox reading either. We need to move beyond having a reading plan and working simply to tick off the box for that day. Rather, we need to immerse ourselves in His Word every day.

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On your journey to discipleship, it’s important to remember following Jesus is always about the next step. We aren’t concerned with where He’s leading us, we’re simply content to follow. A hallmark of discipleship is never looking back. It doesn’t matter where you’ve been, or what you’ve done. The blood, grace, and love of Jesus makes all which has come before irrelevant. We are who He says we are, and He sees only who we are becoming.

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As far as God is concerned, the past doesn’t matter. He’s not interested in what you’ve done, only in what you will do for His Kingdom.  He holds no grudges. Jesus never looks at what you’ve messed up in the past as an indicator of what you might accomplish in the future.

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I have had the concern of being overly repetitious in my writing here. Being honest, it seems as if I continue to circle around a few ideas, putting what I hope is a fresh spin on them each time. Yet when I contemplate it, I come to a simple point. As long as I’m still struggling with it, I’m going to continue to write about it! I’m going to follow the advice of Ken Blanchard, one of my early mentors. He said the three keys to learning were repetition, repetition, and repetition.

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Living the life of a disciple is simple. Do what Jesus did, say what Jesus said, and love like Jesus loved. Do those things and you will be a true follower of Christ.

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