Where do you find your encouragement and your examples for walking out a life worthy of being called a Christian? Don't tell me...the Bible, right? Good, that is always the best place to go. You know what I think is interesting--that back when Christ walked the earth...see HE had a walk it out too. HE encouraged others not to "just" be called Christians, but to go and make disciples, Matthew 28:19. I love how Francis Chan put it, "Some people believe that we can be Christians without being disciples. I wonder then why the last thing Jesus told us was to go into the world, making disciples of all nations, teaching them to obey all that HE commanded. You'll notice that HE didn't add, 'But hey, if that's to much to ask, tell them to just become Christians--you know, the people who get to go to heaven without having to commit to anything.' " MY, MY, MY, makes you think doesn't it?
What is a disciple? We will look at this definition based on what Jesus Himself says a disciple is. John 8:31: "Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, 'If you ABIDE in My word, you are My disciples indeed.' " So a disciple abides (to comply; to obey; to conform; to stay; to tolerate). This is an online dictionary definition. Basically, we are to imitate Christ and be a learner of Him. There is more involved in this as we search Scripture. We are also called to BEAR FRUIT, John 15:8: "By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples." Hmm, what is fruit? I am going to assume that you know that it's not apples and oranges:) Fruit is the evidence of knowing someone or walking with them. I like to say, "That it is an undeniable evidence that you are connected.
Let's move on to the next criteria for being a disciple. If we LOVE ONE ANOTHER we are His disciples, John 13:35: "By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." Do you show love to your family? Do those who attend your church receive love from you? Do the teachers and principal at your children's schools or a school you may be attending know you to be a loving person?
The last thing I want to mention is FEEDING HIS SHEEP, John 21:15-16. What does this mean? How do we feed Jesus' sheep? How about caring for other believers. Sometimes we get so caught up in what we do and don't have that we neglect the needs of others. Wouldn't it be great if more believer's would take God's Word seriously and stop trying to change it so that it fits and justifies our selfish, 'me centered' lives? There are no excuses for not giving to help others if the God you serve is really sovereign and good. Would HE ask you to do something that was not of benefit to you? In Acts 20:35 it says that it is better to give than receive. Think for a minute about the times you did give: Didn't you feel great joy? Weren't you happy to help someone? Didn't God bless you?
I want to share something with you. I haven't always understood the principles behind giving, so this blog is not to condemn but to inform and encourage. God has a sense of humor, HE really started working with my giving (not my tithe, because I have always done that), but giving to support other ministries, those less fortunate and those suffering for the sake of Christ in other countries....right when monies got tight in my own life. You know I had a moment but as I searched God's Word and looked at His principles and commands and the benefits...'cause you know we don't want to do nothing without benefits, what a shame:( I became more convicted that even in my financial state where ends were not meeting...they didn't know each other and couldn't even see each other...that I needed to give and watch what God said would happen unfold right before my eyes. I figured, ends don't meet now anyway, what do I have to lose!
I gave, even though rent was around the corner; I gave even though my car payment was on the horizon; I gave even though we needed groceries...and guess what happened? God showed up and showed out. Monies for rent came in from unexpected places; people who listen to God responded to His call on my behalf. WOW! I spent more time on this characteristic of a disciple because I think it is one of the hardest for most people to do...give and trust God.
So my question to you today is...Are others able to look at your life and see that you are a disciple of Christ? Do you have the characteristics of a disciple? Are others able to come to you and get biblical advice? Do others want to follow you because you are committed to making disciples for Christ? Can others look in the Bible at the disciples and say, "You know that is like Mrs. So and So or Mr. So and So?"
Does Christ have a disciple in you today? Do you abide or hide? Do you show fruit or has your fruit wilted? Do you love others or only love yourself and those that are lovable? Are you willing to feed Jesus' sheep, care for the poor and the less fortunate? Will you even care for those that are believers that are your brothers and sisters in the Lord or do you leave that up to someone else?
This is a lot to think about but it is really time for us to take a long hard look at ourselves. We need to compare our actions, commitments, convictions, attitudes, etc. to the Word and stop comparing ourselves to others who make us feel good because they do more ungodly stuff than we do. The truth that will set you free is available when you look at yourself in the mirror of the Word.
For more information on HE Reigns Ministries or to sign up for the newsletter, visit: www.hereignsministries.org