Monday, March 12, 2012

Taking His Time

There is an interesting story in John 5 about God and His timing. For one man Jesus is 38 years late, for others His timing is ALL wrong, and still others he doesn't even seem to give them the time of day. The paralytic for 38 years seems to be telling Jesus how it isn't fair that he can't get into the water quick enough and that is why God hasn't healed him. The Pharisees and Sadducees wanted to kill Jesus for a large part because he was violating their laws regarding the Sabbath.  If he would have just waited til the next day to heal the man, a large part of their stumbling block would have been removed.  The roman official who wants Jesus to come and heal his child who is near death doesn't get Jesus to go anywhere.  Jesus doesn't go to his son, but tells the man his son is healed.

It is interesting to me how much difficulty we have in allowing God to be Lord of our time.  We spend so much of our time with us striving to be in control of one of the most difficult areas to be in control.  We set out each day not to be controlled by those 24 hours, but instead for us to be in control.  I am forced to acknowledge a profound truth that we ultimately find healing only when we allow Jesus to be Lord of all of our lives.  That includes our time, our health, our pains and disappointments.

Let our eyes look to heaven for our strength and hope.  There will be no more tears and the body will be transformed into the likeness of Christ with glorified heavenly bodies. We will be freed physically.  There will be no more sin, pain, or tears... we will be healed spiritually and emotionally.  There is one last piece I often forget, and that is that there will be no more time.  The Light source will be Christ himself.  There will be no darkness, and there will be no time.  We will have eternity to be one with our Lord and He will have set us free from time for all eternity!

True Discipleship

Recently, I spent the weekend sleeping in the back of a suburban at lake livingston state park and on a deflated "air" mattress on the floor of a friends house.  I was given the opportunity to speak about discipleship and that my sleeping arrangements were the price of admission for me.  I am encouraged from my time seeking the Lord and His word about what is the essence of discipleship, because it has helped me come away with more clear answers than I started with.  In the same way the rain washed away our campsites, "glad I was in the back of the suburban", the complexity of discipleship was swept away.  Notice I didn't say difficulty, I said complexity.

I was challenged to define the essentials of discipleship.  What would you say are the essential elements of discipleship.  These were what I thought would be effective goals for all discipleship relationships:

  • Learn how to walk in intimacy with Christ in the everyday part of life.
  • Learn to love and appreciate the goodness and beauty of God
  • Grow in humility and dependance as a sinful man before a holy and gracious God.
It was also very interesting some of the reasons we don't disciple others that were shared as feedback from the group.  Here are some of the responses:
  • I have too much pridefulness to help others grow in humility.
  • I am not consistent enough in my walk to help someone else.
  • I don't know who I should disciple.
  • I don't know where to begin or how to get started.
In all of the responses, it was interesting to see the more we looked to ourselves the more it moved us away from discipling others.  It was restated as the more that I struggle with pridefulness the less that pridefulness allows me to help others grow in humility.  In all of this it became clear that Christ desires to shine through our struggles and failures in real and transparent ways.  That the one discipling others would grow in humility the greatest amount.  For it would be humbling to have to share sinful failures with someone whom we were discipling.  It is a different thought that discipleship was intended to help the discipler to grow in humility as much as the one whom they were discipling. 

I am reminded of 1John 1:9     If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

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