Sunday, December 30, 2018

Basic Christian Disciplines: Keep it Going!

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The coming New Year poses another opportunity for Christian growth. However, along the way, it is also accompanied by various challenges. Knowing this fact, therefore, we must strive forward and keep going ahead. Tom Landry emphasized, “The job of a football coach is to make men do what they don't want to do, to achieve what they've always wanted to be.” It begins by remembering we are not alone in our battles. We are cheered on towards achieving the prize “…by so great a cloud of witnesses…” The Christian journey is a marathon, not a sprint and perseverance is the attitude required for completing our Christian race. The Scriptures are filled with encouragement for keeping us going.

·      Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way as to take the prize. 1 Corinthians 9:24
·      Therefore I do not run aimlessly; I do not fight like I am beating the air. 1 Corinthians 9:26
·      You were taught to put off your former way of life, your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires. Ephesians 4:22
·      You need to persevere, so that after you have done God's will, you will receive what He has promised. Hebrews 10:36

With these promises in tow, let’s keep going by applying some basic Christian disciplines. First, maintaining a discipline of daily immersing ourselves in reading the Scriptures. Its is keeping God’s word at the front and center of our life (Joshua 1:8; Colossians 3:16). Phillip Brooks explained: “The Bible is like a telescope. If a man looks through his telescope he sees worlds beyond; but if he looks at his telescope, he does not see anything but that.” Next, maintaining a discipline of prayer and fasting. We need God’s power operating at maximum efficiency (1 Samuel 7:6; Luke 2:37; Acts 13:1-3). Marilyn Hickey emphasized, “Fasting and praying are Bible-based disciplines that are appropriate for all believers of all ages throughout all centuries in all parts of the world.” Another vital discipline is living by faith, not by sight. It sees life with eyes open for God at work (2 Kings 6:17; 2 Corinthians 5:7). Somebody said,

To walk by faith is to fear God more than man; to obey the Bible even when it conflicts with man’s commands; to choose righteousness over sin, no matter what the cost; to trust God in every circumstance; and to believe God rewards those who seek Him, regardless of who says otherwise.[1]

Next, maintaining discipline in serving others as Jesus did (1 Samuel 12:24; 1 Peter 4:10). James Packer clarified, “When the New Testament speaks of ministering to the saints, it means not primarily preaching to them but devoting time, trouble, and substance to giving them all the practical help possible.” Therefore, serving others is a mark of Christian discipleship. Lastly, maintaining a discipline of a worshipping lifestyle. Each day, there’s clear intent in creating an atmosphere of lifting Jesus higher above everything else (Hebrews 13:15; Colossians 3:16). Delesslyn A. Kennebrew wrote, “True worship, in other words, is defined by the priority we place on who God is in our lives and where God is on our list of priorities.”

What’s the bottom line for 2019? Somebody shared this story as an added glimpse of how we can fuel our Christian journey in 2019:

There is a story about a great pianist who had just finished a concert and the crowd stood and gave him a raving applause. However, the renowned pianist did not seem satisfied. Only when a man in the rafters stood and began to clap did the pianist smile and bow before the audience. The man in the stands was his teacher.[2]

Just like the story above, the pursuit of spiritual growth is to know Christ and Him crucified. The focus must be clear, and our reason is firmly entrenched in Jesus Christ alone. When we do, our Christian journey is secure and victorious even in the midst of various challenges because we are “looking unto Jesus the author and the perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2).

Let’s talk again!

[1] What does it mean to walk by faith not by sight?.

[2] 13. Pursuing Spiritual Maturity |