Being A Disciple Isn’t Hard
It’s impossible and getting harder…
March 26th, 2019
At 2:30 AM this morning something woke me up. The Lord does that every now and again. I’m not sure if it is to keep me on my toes or what, but if I hadn’t gotten up three hours earlier, I would have missed a post from someone on my Facebook friends list who was espousing to be a prophet. With how Facebook has changed your exposure to those on your friends list, you sometimes miss postings from some people.
I was going to unfriend this person because I didn’t want their comments showing up on my timeline and possibly influencing someone with the messages they disseminated, which were not coming from the Word of God. Instead, I chose not to follow this individual which would prevent their posts from showing up on my timeline, but they might still see mine. This was done, hoping they would see the scripture and topics I share and might be from them turned to submission to the Lord.
I’m not saying that God cannot or will not raise up prophets today. Revelation even points to this taking place under certain conditions. I am leery of anyone who claims of revelation from God this is independent of His Word. As soon as they refer to themselves as being a prophet or apostle, the level of scrutiny is raised significantly in my thinking.
Paul warns us…
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.
1 John 4:1 (ESV)
These false prophets are to become more common, in the days preceding the return of Jesus.
Now the Spirit expressly says in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared
1 Timothy 4:1-2 (ESV)
We are seeing a marked increase in both apostacy and false prophets today and you must be careful to be sure before adopting that which they speak is in conformance to the Word of God which will expose these lies for what they are.
Pray that our hearts are shielded from this deceit, which even the elect are tempted to follow.
I will not go any further on this today, as this is only a portion of what I wanted to share with you today.
Discipleship isn’t hard
No, it is impossible!
It is impossible for us to do of our own strength. If we think we can avoid the deceptions and allure of the world with our own power, we become fools and are at risk of being deceived by the enemy.
It is essential we depend on the Word of God and the Holy Spirit to prevent false teachings from infiltrating our defenses and infect our understanding of God and what His direction is for us.
The Word because God’s actions are always faithful to His Word. The Spirit because among the key purposes of God’s Spirit living in us is to provide us the guidance from God directly to our hearts. We need to yield to the Spirits guidance on a daily basis.
The less of these essential tools in our daily walk the greater the possibility we will be susceptible to false teaching and the temptation of the devil. Being obedient to the Word and the Spirit is an exercise we must engage in a persistent manner.
Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.
1 Timothy 4:16 (ESV)
Paul writing to Timothy tells him persist in maintaining a diligent eye on both ourselves and on the teachings, we are exposed to and we are sharing with others. In doing this we guard ourselves and those who are observing us.
This involves more than just reading the Word and picking out key passages we integrate into our lives. If we do that, then we are doing no different from what false teachers do, when they fragment the content of scripture, which at minimum leads to misinterpretation of the Word and even worse by omission and substitution the utter degradation of the message.
You shall not add to the word I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you.
Deuteronomy 4:2 (ESV)
It’s easy enough done when we take the shortcut of trying to make the scripture say what we want, rather than allowing the scripture to tell us what God wants. This abuse of scripture isn’t always done with malice. Just yesterday I heard a well known pastor, who did this very thing to make a valid point, but used scripture out of context to do it.
He quoted from 1 Thessalonians, “for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
My ears twitched on this these words because it is a fragment of one of my favorite passages.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV)
Now, what he was pointing out as the will of God for us was valid, but it wasn’t to “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances”. While I’m guessing what he was thinking was ‘no harm – no foul’, but there is harm in doing this. The harm comes from not capturing the full essence of the scripture being quoted.
We need to verify what is being shared with us is accurate to the context of the scriptures. It doesn’t require some elaborate skill we must be trained in. What it requires is that we read the passages in question and the proceeding verses and those that follow to gather a frame of reference for what God is telling us through the scripture.
“Being a Disciple isn’t hard”, it is impossible, if we don’t rely on Jesus, His Word, and the Holy Spirit to both guide and empower us.
This is why Jesus told his disciples…
But he said, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”
Luke 18:27 (ESV)
Our Lord spoke this in response to his disciples questioning Jesus’ comment…
Jesus, seeing that he had become sad, said, “How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”
Luke 18:24-25 (ESV)
The Luke 18:27 quote is in response to the question posed by the disciples in verse twenty-six. But because of the way Jesus phrased his response it applies for things besides salvation.
There are several things impossible for us to accomplish but God can do through us. So much so that Paul writes…
I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:13 (ESV)
So, it proves out the premise of today’s devotional, “Being a disciple isn’t hard”, it’s impossible. It’s impossible for us, but for God we can do anything that God calls us to do. Despite the circumstances, despite our limitations; God can take our paltry effort and transform it into a force capable of delivering the results He desires in us.
In the Grace of Jesus,