We "Go" Best from Our Growth in Devotional Times!
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 1 Peter 5:6
The Book of First Peter talks about humbleness, which is characterized by the willingness to follow Christ, receive learning, and experience growth. Two of the best ways I have found to do this are personal devotional time and being a part of a Small Group Bible Study. The more we grow in Him, the more humble and useful we become, better able to connect with others. Humbleness does not mean being weak. It means being strong enough to yield to God rather than to ourselves or anything outside of God's call. Peter tells us we ought to be humble toward one another so that we can know the grace of God, and not be in opposition to God. Secondly, he says we had better be humble, not only toward one another, but toward God. This is so straightforward. This is so essential in order to be a blessed and growing Christian and church, not necessarily in numbers, but in what is most important-discipleship, which is leaning, learning, and growing in Christ, leading to a lifestyle of worship.
The key to the success of finding and developing faith is simple; it is obedience. We must be ready to serve God rather than our needs, even before we know what the call may be, and take this mindset into life and to others. This means that faith goes beyond self to grow. This happens when we allow the impacting work of Christ to continually renew and build us. To grow even further, we can be more contemplative in His Word and in prayer. God's will for our lives is for us to totally surrender and trust in His power and authority, and to abide in Him. He will shape our destiny if we allow it. He will teach us His ways if we will walk in His ways. Trust yourself to our LORD and receive His call in order to build yourself, as well as others, up.
Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it." Luke 9:23-24
How can this be done? Ask yourself, "How do I…" and "How can I…" to the following:
1 …make a profession/acceptance of faith in who Christ is and what He did on my behalf? 1 John 3:23; Acts 16:30-31
2 …make sure Jesus is Lord of all? 1 Corinthians 3:2; Romans 8:9-17
3 …be a disciple who is willing to grow in Christ? 2 Peter 1:5-7
4 …realize that discipling is not an option-it is a command? Matthew 28:19-20
5 …be a disciple who has surrendered himself to His Lordship? John 3:30; Romans 8:28-32, 12; Galatians 2:20-21; Philippians 3:1-10; 1 Peter 4:2
6 Matthew 28:16-20; Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12; Ephesians 2:10; and 2 Timothy 2:2 all tell us that faith and discipleship are lifestyles that move us deeper into prayer and into worshipping Christ.
7 …be a disciple who makes good decisions and is focused on God's will?
8 …be a disciple who is honest with God and others? 1 John 1:9
9 …be a disciple who walks with the precepts of Psalm 15?
10 …be a disciple who knows his abilities, gifts, and talents? Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12-14; 1 Peter 4:10
11 …be a disciple who is willing to submit to His authority? 1 Peter 2:13-15
12 …be a disciple who is infused with humility? Psalm 149:4; Proverbs 3:34; Matthew 18:4; Ephesians 4:2-3; Colossians 3:12-14; Philippians 2:3-4; 1 Peter 5:6; James 4:10
13 …be a disciple who will not be critical or have a bad attitude? Romans 6:14; 1 Corinthians 13:4-5; Ephesians 4:29-32
14 …be a disciple who is not greedy? Luke 12:15; Romans 12:14-15
15 …be a disciple who is willing to wait on God's timing? (Saul versus David)
16 …be a disciple who is a listener? James 1:19
17 …be a disciple who confesses sin and repents of it? Psalm 51; 2 Corinthians 12:9
18 …be a disciple who will not have even a trace of pride in him or her? Job 35:12; Proverbs 6:16-19; 16:5; 18; 29:23; Obadiah 3; Galatians 5:26
19 …be a disciple who is discerning? Proverbs 20:25; Ephesians 6:10-20; 1 Peter 5:8-9; James 4:7
20 …be a disciple who loves people, especially the lost? Micah 6:8; Philippians 2:7; Hebrews 10:24-25; 2 Peter 3:9
21 God calls us to motivate and teach others to move toward more prayer and care for others. Mark 1:35-2:12; Galatians 6:1-10
22 John 1:36-52, and Acts, chapters 10 through 16, tell us that discipling grows from a web of relationships.
23 …be a disciple who is a person who forgives? Matthew 5:46; John 17:20-23; Ephesians 4:1-2; 4:32
24 …be a disciple who is willing to endure hardships, considering them to be growth opportunities? James 1:2-4; 4:1-11
25 …be a disciple who is faithful? Matthew 25:29; Luke 16:10-12
26 …be a disciple who has a servant heart and who leads by servanthood? Ephesians 2:10
Now consider these points; how can you add them to your spiritual walk?
One of the themes of the Gospels and Acts 11-16 is that in discipling people, we walk them through the phases and experiences of life. We come along side them and we do not let them go off on their own.
Discipleship is a lifestyle. As we become a part of the lives of others, the purpose for loving them is simply because He first loved us; then, we become instruments of His grace.
In John 15, the goal is intimacy with Christ-being surrendered to biblical priorities and not to our own. Then, we become tools that Christ can use to reach and equip others. We are to be equipped so that we can enable others to know and grow in Christ.
- In Mark 8:34-38, Jesus said we are to "deny ourselves." This means we are to surrender ourselves completely to Him. We are to identify with His character and with what He did on our behalf on the cross. Then, out of gratitude, we are to follow Him wherever He leads us.
Have these precepts become realities in your walk with Christ? What is in the way of this happening fully in your life?
What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. Luke 9:25-26
When we live just for and to ourselves, we miss opportunities, learning experiences, and growth, and we will exchange an eternity of rewards for a limited time of fun. Also bear in mind, Christ loves you and wants the best for you. His way is the best way, and we need to have Him and the perspective of eternity in mind, not our limited feelings and desires. Jesus lived and died on our behalf. He willingly gave up His life and paid the penalty for our sin. He allows us not only to escape the fires of hell, but also gives us eternal life. What is your response?
Questions to Ponder
What will be the rewards in your life when you are adhering to His command to GO?
- Now go over the "How do I do this" list again, in prayer, and ask Christ to help you in each bullet point's implantation in you and implementation into the world. (For more help see Appendix II "How to Build your Faith.")
© 1992, 2004, Rev. R.J. Krejcir, Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership, www.churchleadership.org/