Yes, fellow Christian, just sit back and relax. God is in control.
You want to end a conversation about the chaos in the world today? Utter these soothing words, “God is in control.”
Case closed. Go on to the next subject. Crab grass. Vacation. Car shopping. Whatever.
Then sit back and do absolutely nothing.
It’s Friday evening, and I haven’t written since last Sunday. This week’s post was to be the final one in my series about True Discipleship. My day job was chaotic, demanding, and very stressful all week. I came home each evening totally exhausted. I went to bed but sleep eluded me. Every night I woke up after about four hours of sleep then was awake, then asleep, then awake, then asleep until the alarm startled me at 5:30 AM. I stumbled through the day and repeated the same cycle every day.
Intending to write about meaningful relationships, I didn’t put one letter to paper all week.
My intention was to create a scripture-laced post that would encourage all readers to seek relationships that go beyond the surface. Deep. Real. Close relationships with those who share our faith and with those who don’t. The goal of those deep relationships is to be aware of the needs of others.
Good intentions don’t create anything.
Any discussion about True Discipleship must include our sin problem. We had a sin problem before we accepted Jesus as Savior, and we still have a sin problem. It is and will always be a daily struggle.
Sin is not a light subject, and it’s not something to be dismissed with an “I’m only human” attitude. Its seriousness cannot be decided by comparisons with other people. Other people don’t set the standard. God did.
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Someone has an empty bowl. That empty bowl might be hunger or loneliness or fear. It might be self-hate or depression or anger. It might be poverty or abuse or just feeling lost.
God has given someone the means to fill that empty bowl.
It might be me. It might be you.
You are very much loved by God.
In fact He has given you a very special gift, a spiritual gift. Everyone who has placed their trust in Christ as their savior has received a gift from the Holy Spirit.
No, it isn’t singing or working with kids or baking. Those are talents and abilities, but they’re not spiritual gifts.
We are saved by grace, the unmerited, unearned, undeserved favor of God, by putting our faith in Jesus as our Savior. Yet the New Testament documents account after account of Christians involved in working for the growing church.
The road to true discipleship is paved with scripture.
You and I will never be the disciples Jesus commands us to be unless we are students of the Bible. How can we know what He expects if we don’t read His words?
We’re not called to be experts on the Bible. We are called to be expressions of the Bible.
I’ve written five posts about what I called true discipleship. We’re saved by grace, but then we’re called by Jesus to follow Him.
In Using or Following, I wrote that we Christians are good at using Jesus to help us deal with this earthly life, but we have made following Him optional.
In The Excuse of Grace, I pointed out that once we have salvation, we use grace to justify that there is really nothing else that needs to be done. So why do anything?
In Are We Ready to Follow, I asked if we really understood what “Follow me” means. I also criticized the American church for not setting high expectations of its members.
In Please Live in Denial, I noted that Jesus is both Savior and Lord. We can’t have just the savior. I asked if we really understood the practice of denying ourselves.
In Our Love Hate Relationships, I posted that all earthly relationships now must exist with Jesus standing between us and everyone else. We must love Jesus so much that our love for others seems like hate.
If you’ve read them you may be asking who can live like that.
“If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.” Luke 14:26
As disciples we have a new love in our life. Jesus is now our first love. The love we have for Him must be so much greater than the love we have for anyone else that the love for them seems to be hate.
In denial is the best way to live.
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” Matthew 16:24
To many Christians the idea of taking up their cross means to deal with a difficult situation. I’ve heard people say their cross to bear is a shaky marriage, failing health, unemployment, or many other unpleasant life events. It’s almost like a badge of honor to accept their fate that life is tough and that’s just the way it is.