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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Devotional: Where does one start?


Scott recently wrote this devotional. It was a challenge to me not only as something we want to teach our disciples but for me personally as well. 

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’  Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”

Have you ever been troubled by the words of Jesus?  I have.  As a young boy, I remember these words of Jesus troubling me. I remember thinking to myself, “What if I stand before Jesus and he says he doesn’t know me?”  Thankfully, today I understand grace and salvation much better.

But the words of Jesus are still true and clear. Some people (if not many) who walk and talk as if they are Christians will be surprised to learn on the Day of Judgment that the Master never knew them.  Look at what Jesus says in the second part of the verse 21.  Jesus says the key to entering the kingdom of heaven is doing the will of the Father.  So the question is, are we doing the will of the Father?

First, we must know what the Father’s will is. It isn’t difficult to find out what God’s will is. Just read Scripture and take the words at face value as being true, then act.  Make them the guide by which you think and act.

It is this second part, the actual living out of God’s will, that I find is the hardest part. Why?  Because I still have so much of “me” at the center of my life and decisions, and not enough of Him. I have tried by my own power to change the old self and make myself new, but the truth is we can never do it on our own. Jesus knew this, so this is one reason why He sent us the Holy Spirit.  Only God can change us, if we will seek Him and let Him.  But it demands a total surrender to the Father’s will.

This concept of letting the will of the Father dictate what I do, where I go, how I spend my time and my resources, etc., is at the very heart of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.  It is what I am striving for in my own life, and it is what I am trying to teach the new followers of Jesus in Mozambique.  My prayer for them, and for each of us, is that we will be transformed completely by the will of the Father.

So where does one start?  Here are a few exercises you might try:

·       Read the Gospels and highlight passages where Jesus talks about the “Father’s will.”
·       Reexamine the 10 commandments. (Exodus 20:1-17)
·       Meditate on the Sermon on the Mount. (Matthew 5:1-7:29)
·       Memorize the first and second greatest commandments. (Matthew 22:37-39)
·       Practice really loving one another. (John 13:34-35)
·       Become humble as Christ was humble. (Phil. 2:1-11)
·       Start rejoicing – always and in all circumstances. (Phil. 4:4; James 2:2-4)
·       Go out and serve / bless someone you don’t know.
·       Give generously of your time and money.

Therefore, I urge you, brother, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.”   Romans 12:1-2      (written by Scott Harris)

Be blessed today,

Lisa

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