Christianity can only truly make a difference in our lives if it succeeds in two thing:
First, it must answer the problem of “Personal Depravity” before God.
Second, it must answer the problem of “Personal Development” towards God.
The Solution to both is met in and through Jesus Christ!
We are Redeemed/Regenerated through the finished work of Christ.
We are Transformed/Grow through the ongoing work of Christ.
MAIN POINT: Following Christ as a disciple means following the overall lifestyle he modeled for us. It means practicing the kinds of activities and life choices he practiced. Being able to do what Jesus would do in any given situation is based upon living like Jesus lived in every aspect of life.
EXAMPLE – Being able to play the piano at concert level is not based upon will power in the moment but hours of practice and “discipline.” The concert pianist lives a certain kind of disciplined lifestyle that allows him to play wonderfully in the moment. But it is the discipline that produces the beauty not just the desire or mere will power.
So then being a disciple of Christ is about pursuing a life style i.e. physical/bodily activities that assissted by God's grace produce the kind of Christ-like character we desire.
PROBLEMS WE RUN INTO:
A) We have the faulty idea that failure is due to lack of will power when in fact it is mainly due to a lack of spiritual training.
EXAMPLE – If I am incapable of bench pressing 200 pounds I do not blame “will power” but rather a lack of “muscle build up.”
EXAMPLE – Controlling my tongue is not just a matter of “will power” but rather a matter of spiritual training or the lack thereof.
**** Remember – that in the spiritual realm, just as in the physical, there is cause and effect.
B) We often try to start with the fruit rather than the seed. By that I mean that simply desiring to control your temper won’t work. Self control is the “fruit” not the seed. Loving your spouse more Christ-like is the “fruit” not the seed. Spiritual disciplines, assisted by God’s grace through the Holy Spirit, are the “seeds” from which grow the “fruit” we desire and God intends.
This Week's Spiritual Discipline: Scheduled Spiritual Activities.
**** Not by accident or emotion; but rather, a scheduled and intentional approach to our spiritual formation in Christ.
2 scheduled times of spiritual reading (scripture, biographies…).
2 scheduled times of prayer &thoughtfulness: journalling, music, quiet walk (30 minutes each).
Journal your thoughts, ideas, feelings
FINAL NOTE: Don’t be surprised or discouraged by failure. You only realize your muscles are not ready to bench press 200 pounds when you try to pick up 200 pounds!