We hear again today from David Arthur. He relays a wonderful story about a man he met who has planted thousands of churches across India. David had been excited to meet the man particularly because he wanted to know what curriculum the man was using to disciple all these people. When asked, the gentleman was confused by the question.
“What materials?” he asked David. “We simply start in the book of Matthew – just reading and doing what it says.”
How simple. We don’t need reams of studies and piles of curriculum. We need to read the word and obey it. Sounds a little familiar no?
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
~ James 1:22
When I was a new Christian I didn’t receive any dedicated discipleship at the church I was attending. I also backslid pretty quickly and blamed my church for it at the time. Here I was a brand new Christian … now what? What do I do now? But you know what? I owned a Bible. I have no one to blame but myself for not picking it up, and as the man from India said, “Start in Matthew and read and do what it says.”
I do find it interesting however, that because of that experience I developed a real passion for the discipleship ministry. I am always hoping to help others from falling off the cliff like I did. Because when you backslide you develop very guilty feelings. You know you’ve walked away from God and back into your old life and you wonder if God’s too mad at you to accept you back into the family. New Christians (and non-believers) are too naïve at that point to comprehend that God will never leave you. Period. End of story.
But wait. Might not a portion of that be true … or at least feel true? Each time we sin without repenting, we move ourselves farther from God. The widening gap allows the enemy of our souls to slip in and isolate us further. We stop reading His word due to guilt or shame and we shut off the main conduit He has to speak to us. Have you, like me, ever felt far from God?
But guess who moved? It wasn’t God.
One of the participants in a small group I was leading was having a hard “season” (as we say in Christianeze). Nothing was going right for her, at least nothing that she wanted or expected was happening in her favor. She’d been a Christian for a couple of years and as I talked with her I discovered that she was pushing against everything – and I mean everything – that was happening in her life. I asked, “Have you been praying? What does God say?”
There comes a time when you have to take stock of your life and ask God, “What is up?” I find that when my wheels are spinning and ‘nothing is going right’ it’s usually one of two reasons (1) I’m walking in God’s will and the enemy is trying to thwart me, or (2) I’m trying to do my own thing and bucking against God. There is no secret to determining which it is. In some cases it might even be a little of both. The first thing I do is stop, drop, and roll. Oh no wait, that’s when I’m on fire. The first thing I do is stop spinning and ask God what is going on. I don’t make any more moves until I hear an answer. In the meantime and just to be sure there is only one influence in my life I will ask Him to help me control my flesh (quiet my mind and put the kibosh on my wants and desires) and rebuke Satan by removing his influence from me.
I waited for an answer from the girl whose life seemed to be falling apart. She just looked at me with sad eyes so I backed up and asked, “Do you read your Bible?”
“No,” was the unfortunate answer. “I can’t concentrate long enough to get anything from it.”
I sighed … probably literally. Not one of us is going to hear from God if we are not in His word … and hopefully on a daily basis. If you’re not reading your bible daily I urge you to work toward making that a habit. It’ll take time but I guarantee you, as soon as our Lord starts speaking to you through the pages, you’ll crave His voice and that will make it easier. We must remember that God’s word is alive. It’s really the only way to begin to communicate with Him. Read it, meditate on it, and obey it.
David Kay gives us an important lesson as he reminds us of the importance of God’s Word. In the second letter to Timothy, Paul knows that his time is nearing an end. Everything he writes to Timothy in this letter is going to be the most important information that he could pass on to this young man he considered a son. Think about it, if you know you’re about to die your last words are not going to be, “Water the plants.” They are going to significant and meaningful. They’re going to be words Timothy needs in order to live well.
Paul tells Timothy to, “guard the treasure which has been entrusted to you.” (2 Timothy 1:14). This treasure is not gold and silver that Paul buried in the desert, but the Word of God. He shares the reason why the Bible is so important and why it must be guarded:
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man (and woman) of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. ~ 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Like my friend from the Trinity post who regrettably believes only the parts of the Bible where Jesus speaks, it’s vital for us to remember that all scripture is God-breathed – which is – inspired by God. To miss that one mind-blowing fact is to miss out on a Book that we really cannot live without.
Have a wonderful weekend!