Thursday, March 5, 2015

It's Time to Grow Up! (Part 5 of 6)
Last week we began to look at Dr. Gallaty's description of the elements of discipleship using the acronym C.L.O.S.E.R.   We examined C (Communication) and L (Learn). This week we will encounter O (Obey) and S (Store). I am presenting this information in anticipation of the launch date for Dr. Gallaty's next book Firmly Planted which will be March 16, 2015. I will post a brief summary of Firmly Planted on March 19th.
(If you would like to review the previous blogs in this series you can click these links
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4)

Chapter 7
A key to being a disciple of Christ is obedience. Christ's example was always established on obedience (the O in C.L.O.S.E.R.) to the Father (John 5:30, 8:28-29, 12:49-50, 14:10). This is the topic of chapter 7. The author begins by saying, "Unfortunately, many people attend church, sing the songs, hear a biblical message, leave the service, and return home the same way they left, with no apparent change in their lives." Christ didn't come to leave us the way we were, He came to transform us into His image (Romans 8:29, 1 Corinthians 3:18, Colossians 3:9-10).

The disciple's purpose is to imitate the master. If we are to be a reflection of the glory of God in Christ, then we must obey. We must remember that the way we were going before submitting our lives to Christ was not doing us any good. To receive the best benefit of our relationship with the Lord, we must be obedient to the Lord.  When we are not obedient then our fellowship with Father is at worst broken and at best hindered.

This process of discipleship that you will learn through reading Growing Up will give you the tools to spend effective time alone with God in prayer and in His Word so that you will know Him more. This increased knowledge will result in increased love for Him which will in turn increase your desire to be obedient to Him. Once this cycle makes its full turn, it begins again and builds on the previous cycle of knowledge, love and obedience. The author states that discipleship "involves more than reading the Bible, memorizing Scripture, and praying. It is intimately walking in communion with the Father through living, loving, and spending time with God."

Some believers have spent a lifetime learning about God, but have spent little time getting to know God. We attend endless Bible studies and sermons and worship services which are all good things to do, but Dr. Gallaty reminds us that "Most Christians do not need to attend another Bible study to grow in their relationship with the Lord. They need to start living what they have already learned."  As we are obedient to God's Word, then we find an abundance of blessings from God. He demonstrates this time and time again the the history of Israel in the Old Testament. The believer must make obedience a priority in order to grow in a proper relationship with the Father.

Chapter 8
The most tangible way God reveals Himself to His people is through His Word, the Bible. Scripture declares of itself that it is a living organism (Hebrews 4:12). We know that life begets life. Therefore, by "storing" God's Word in our memory, we are infusing God's life-giving power into our weak flesh-driven lives. The Bible, called the Sword of the Spirit in Ephesians 6, is the only weapon in our arsenal. It is a very effective one at that.

Psalm 119:11 says, "Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You." And since we know that "...your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8) then we ought to be armed and ready all the time. The devil is stealthy and he knows your weaknesses. He studies his enemies well and has a definite strategy for his attack. It then behooves believers to be prepared and to study well. The good news is that we don't have to study the devil's tactics. That's because God already knows all about him. God has given us His plan of attack and it's in His Word.

Dr. Gallaty teaches the difference between memorization and meditation and how both will help make the Word of God a part of who you are rather than an "attachment" that is put on and taken off in a troubled time. It helps the Word saturate your life which also will alter your mind. This is part of the transforming work of the Word of God. The more of God's thoughts you put in you, the more you begin to think like Him. At that point it becomes much easier to discern that ever-elusive question, "What is the will of God?" (Romans 12:2).

The benefits of studying and storing God's Word are endless. I encourage you to get a copy of the book Growing Up: How To Be A Disciple Who Makes Disciples so you can learn some tips for reaping the benefits of obedience and scripture memory and mediation.  God desires a C.L.O.S.E.R. relationship with you. 

Remember: this is not about fulfilling some religious obligation in order to appease an angry God. His wrath was appeased through the blood that Jesus shed on the cross. God paid the price for sin out of His own resources. To receive His gift of forgiveness, you simply need to accept it. Confess your sins against Him and believe that Jesus died on the cross to pay for your sins. Submit and commit your life to Him. Let Him be your "boss" (Savior) for the rest of your life. 

What Dr. Gallaty is talking about in this book is what we do out of gratitude for all that God has done for us. Yes, it is expected of every believer, but it does not earn us salvation.  The question you need to ask yourself is: "If I am unwilling to do the things asked of me as a disciple of Jesus Christ, then have I really received the gift of salvation that He offered to me?" If you have not surrendered fully to Him, then do so today. Contact me by leaving a message below. I will be excited to help you in anyway I can.

For God's Glory,
Chris S. Sweet

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