Public Discipleship. Post #3

I really wanted to preach about hell and eternal damnation, that Sunday. It was not the topic of my original sermon, but knowing the rumors about me a small group of individuals were spreading among our congregation, I believed it to be the right course of action.

 

I called one of my mentors, to confirm this was a good idea.

 

He said the opposite. He advised me to love them, and to show compassion. He even had the audacity to suggest that I needed to preach the Gospel to myself.

 

The nerve.

 

Of course, he was right. I preached the original message, and I confronted the rumors following our church’s procedures. The end result was good, but the process was painful – at least for me.

 

This happened more than 15 years ago, but the lesson is still valid: the LORD will direct me to do things I do not want to do, and the path often goes through pain.

 

That is one way He disciplines me.

 

I know the word discipline has a bad reputation. I am using it here to mean “training to do something in a controlled and habitual way,” and not “formal punishment or rebuke for an offense.”

 

Certainly, His disciple can have the second meaning, but we should not instantaneously take that definition (Job, anyone?)

 

On the phone that day, my mentor actually said God was training me to die more and more to myself, so that He could live more and more through me. Desiring myself to decrease so that He may increase is not a natural inclination of my heart. I need training to do it in a controlled and habitual way.

 

I need His loving, caring, merciful, compassionate, purposeful discipline.

 

What about you?

 

May He make His face to shine upon you and your loved ones.

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