Discipleship

Discipleship

“My son, if your heart is wise,
then my heart will be glad”
Proverbs 23:15

The wise in heart ponder their ways before the Lord. With the passage of time, for the true disciple, there is a discretion that develops within those who hold to His leadings. This discretion is the fruit of experience and God’s correction. That which is lawful and permitted may not always be the wise choice. Wisdom guides and girds the heart for those who are determined to please God.

“All things are permissible but not all things are profitable or expedient. All things are permissible, but not all things promote growth in Christian character”
1 Corinthians 10:23 (Wuest)

The world, both religious and secular, offers many things; broad paths, amusements and temporal diversions. Yet the wise walk with hearts fixed upon pleasing Him who has called them unto Himself. To true disciples of Christ this is not a religious law or teaching; it is the joy of His Life beating within. There is little desire to appear spiritual to others, for those who seek the approval of men already have their reward. Wisdom is the pure fruit of the fear of the Lord. It is the fragrance of a life which seeks to honor Him. In its way men and women find great treasures; hidden treasures which more than compensate for His correction and discipline. Paul, in setting forth the true way of the Lord to his “son” Timothy, declared:

“No one serving as a soldier entangles himself with the affairs of this life, so that he might please the one having enlisted him”
2 Timothy 2:4

Purity of heart in a young recruit could best be described as having a single purpose. The great Shepherd of our souls directs us into a purity where we become free from our own agendas; we intuitively choose the things which please Him because we have learned and are being instructed in the Way of Righteousness.

“And He that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him
John 8:29

True Discipleship is the fruit of Love. Christ’s hold upon any life are determined by the tenacity of the bonds of His Love upon the human heart. Many may be devoted to a teacher, a prophet, an organization, a great cause or doctrine, but genuine disciples hold within their hearts a devotion borne and sustained by the sheer power of the Love of Christ.

“The disciple is not above his master:
but every one that is perfect shall be as his master”
Luke 6:40

The “marks*” of His disciples are a growing likeness to the Master. There is a distinct mark upon those who diligently “follow the Lamb wheresoever HE goes”. There is a detachment from the popular, the ethos of factions, or the press to conform to the dictates of a church or small fellowship. It is a life fully captivated by the wonder of Him.

“And as He passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphæus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed Him”
Mark 2:14

Those who truly hear the call and feel the power of a love beyond comprehension know this abandonment to Him. They know not where He will lead, they care not where He will lead. In reality they are no longer their own.

Abandonment
is the response
to seeing HIM.

The price of Discipleship? Loneliness, misunderstanding and persecution.

The prize of Discipleship? His joy resident in our hearts.

Ω

“Many waters cannot quench love,
neither can the floods drown it:
if a man would give all the substance of his house for love,
it would utterly be contemned”
Song of songs 8:6

*Note: Paul considered the scars borne in his body as the “marks” of the Lord Jesus Christ (Galatians 6:17) The Greek word translated “marks” actually means “brands” which denote the ownership of Christ.

“From henceforth let no man trouble me:
for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus”
Galatians 6:17

Brian Troxel

Mended By Grace

Mended by Grace

“The disciple is not above his master:
but every one that is perfect shall be as his master”
Luke 6:40

Many translations miss the beauty and power of this saying of Jesus. The word “perfect” here should be rendered “mended”. The salvation that Christ brings to His own is one that heals, transforms and brings wholeness of being. It is more than nice words. It is literally the life of Christ being infused into the contaminated essence of man, with a view to being healed and restored. His salvation is more than just a covering; it is God investing His life into that which was lost.

Man was lost through the infection of self-will and the corresponding corrupt choices. Simply put, when any living organism is removed from its life-center, corruption and decay are the result. When an apple is picked from the tree it becomes subject to the second law of thermodynamics. When man severed his relationship with God as the source and center of being, decay and death was/is the result. God, by the inner law of His being, sent His only begotten Son into the world to pay the penalty of man’s disobedience. When individuals break a law of any society, there is a penalty which must be paid *.

The penalty, having been paid by Christ, brought with it the offer from God for all to receive forgiveness. Man, who by freewill chose to disobey God can, by that same act of will, receive the justification of God in Christ. While that is often the extent of the Gospel message in our land, there is more. Not only has God offered forgiveness, He has invested the Life of Christ to undo the stain, corruption and decay of the human race. The infusion of this life is given to destroy the works of the enemy within all who receive Him. He has come to annihilate the workings of lust, envy, jealously, anger, murder and countless other defilements of the human condition.

The life of Christ within is all about the mending and the repairing of the breach. He has/is come to mend our brokenness and to obliterate the works of the flesh by the power of His Holy Spirit. Where the works of the flesh once reigned, we can see the beauty and grace of the fruit of the Spirit forming in those who abide within the sphere of His nature.

“The disciple is not above his master:
but every one that is mended shall be as his master”

It is the disciple (the ardent follower of Christ) who knows of this mending and healing within. The mending of a life is to become a follower of Jesus from the inside out. As one great man of God stated hundreds of years ago: “we are to become by grace what Christ is by nature”.

This work of mending can only be revealed in the depth of love we have for one another. People who treat others (in the name of God) with the same disregard and cruelty that is in the world, clearly reveal the absence of Christ in their hearts. Whenever there is sectarianism, division and strife within God’s people there is, at its root, pride, unforgiveness and carnality. It is the disciples who are mended; it is the true in heart who are called the children of God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers:
for they shall be called the children of God”
Matthew 5:9

* Even in this is a residue of God within the composition of man. Law and order in society, though corrupted, reveals that man still carries within their own being a sense of justice.

Brian Troxel