Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Spiritual Education

I have been thinking, like most Christians,I often question myself:

Is the whole of my thinking governed by Scripture, or do I come with my reason and pick and choose out of Scripture? Do I accept Scripture as the revelation from God, or do I trust to speculation, human knowledge, human learning, human understanding, and human reasons? Self-interest is something we all understand because since physical birth, as infants, we learned how to get what we want. Can some understand when someone who asks, “Why should I be a Christian? What is in it for me?”

Thinking Theologically is a tough thing to do. It works against our human and horizontal perspective on life. The main purpose for reading the Bible is to change ourselves as we read, believe and obey.

"Moses spent 40 years thinking he was somebody; 40 years learning he was nobody; and 40 years discovering what God can do with a nobody." DL Moody
For 3 years, Jesus taught His Disciples who became Apostles after His death. What kind of education did Jesus gave them?

Reading all of the New Testament, I have come to conclusion that Jesus taught them Spiritual matters. Christianity without discipleship is always Christianity without Christ. Personal discipleship takes months while Church discipleship take about 3 faithful years.

The only Apostle that didn't follow Jesus was Paul however, Paul did have extensive education background regarding Jewish Laws that were very useful for God to use Paul when He wrote the letters of the New Testament. Through Paul's letters, we have learned GREAT doctrines who was very educated and at the same time very spiritual.

In Matthew 28, the great commission that we are to be “making disciples”. I always believed that the Holy Spirit converts and Christians disciple which means giving up has to do "self" while cost of discipleship has to do with discipling "others".

We are to believe and follow Christ in all things, including his words about Scripture. And this means that Scripture is to be for us what it was to him: the unique, authoritative, and inerrant Word of God, and not merely a human testimony to Christ, however carefully guided and preserved by God. If the Bible is less than this to us, we are not fully Christ's disciples. James Montgomery Boice, "The Preacher & God's Word"
When He wore a crown of thorns, do you wish to wear a crown of gold? Johann Arndt, *True Christianity*.
The real question is, will a Christian be a true disciple? Becoming a disciple, following Jesus Christ requires personal cost, giving up your selfish "me" and become like Christ. Love is NOT conditional however discipleship is conditional. Jesus might have grieved over His Cost of Discipleship requirements, but He never ran after them to try to win them with rosy promises. Luke 14:27 And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:33 In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.

Discipleship and Transformation
Jesus Christ’s redemptive work on the cross have provided the solution for my salvation and the foundation for me to pursue a life that reflects Christ. I believe that the truth of God’s Word have already set me FREE from the bondage of sin. (John 8:32) I believe that Jesus and the Word of God are SUFFICIENT for life and godliness. (2 Peter 1:3-9) and the Holy Spirit provided me the principles and guidelines to live a life of godliness. It is the Holy Spirit's conviction that God’s design for me is to be radically TRANSFORMED by the renewing of my mind. (Romans 12:2) My hope for this radical transformation is by the POWER of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13).

The bottom line is this: God's Word (the Bible) sometimes wounds us deeply and it is imperative because through the Bible, God speaks loudly. The Word of God (Bible) rebukes US we we read so that we may see our OWN faults (not others). The Bible illumines the dark corners of our own hearts and minds by exposing our OWN sin but at the same time reveals the way of truth.

I will never forget C.S. Lewis' quote: "You never know how much you really believe anything until truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you."

I am thinking deep this week. Seems like there is alot of convicting coming from above. *smile*



Anonymous said...

I think you should pick and choose out of scripture for based on your reason. In a time when paper and pen were not easily accessible, knowledge was passed by word of mouth. With nothing other than religious doctrine available, it could easily be accepted later as the only truth. I always said the Bible is the biggest child’s story ever written by man.

my life with bipolar disorder said...

Thanks, Jim, for another great post. God's Truths rightly understood and applied by the Holy Spirit into our lives will transform us. Humble submission to the teaching of God's Words and the conviction of the Holy Spirit of our sins is necessary for us to be more and more conformed to God's Words.

As disciples of Christ, I think there must be a genuine desire to follow Christ, deny ourselves and reflect Him in our lives. Sometimes this can be painful as it means forsaking our own ways, turning from our sins and errors, and depend upon God and walk in obedience to His Words. But the result is spiritual benefits and life eternal in Christ. I felt there is no compromise. Those who keep their lives will lose it, those who lose their life for Christ will keep it. Easier said than done. I am learning daily to humbly submit to God's pruning and sanctifying, so that I may live for His glory and enjoy Him in eternity. Thank you for all your encouragements.

Karen Mayes said...

Interesting line of thinking...I have not thought about "making disciples" as "discipling oneself to follow Jesus' way"... more like "saving lost souls." That is why I feel uncomfortable with any Christian being bullish about saving and converting the "un"Christians or Christians from other churches that do not follow a certain doctrine that other churches believe in. It is like tallying up how many souls one has saved in order to win one of the crowns in the heaven.

But a good question... we often apply Bible scriptures to our lives, thus to our only own interpretations.