Discipling: How to Help Others Follow Jesus by Mark Dever My rating: 5 of 5 stars The book defines discipling as “deliberately doing spiritual good to someone so that he or she will be more l…
Source: Discipling by Mark Dever
…for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am” – Philippians 4:11 We live in a time of rampant discontentment, and no wonder. Virtually everywhere we turn we are told we need something more to make us happy; that what we have is not good enough, that we need – or rather …
Good questions to consider as we go throughout our day
Edification: Will this activity produce spiritual benefit?
Enslavement: Will this activity lead to spiritual bondage?
Exposure: Will this activity expose my mind or body to defilement?
Esteem: Will this activity benefit others, or cause them to stumble?
Evangelism: Will this activity further the cause of the gospel?
Ethics: Will this activity violate my conscience?
Exaltation: Will this activity bring glory to God?
After reading Jen Wilkin’s book Women of the Word a couple years ago in which she suggested babysitting swaps to help moms with young kids to have solitary Bible study, I thought this was an excellent idea and something very practical that we can do for young moms. The idea is that for moms with young kids it can be very difficult to find time for studying the Bible and they often feel discouraged that they aren’t able to be in the Word as much as they would like (or need). By another woman being willing to babysit her kids once a week for an hour or two, she can use that time for Bible study and prayer. As she goes about her week with all she has going on, she knows that at least for those couple hours she will be able to do some uninterrupted Bible time. Ideally an older woman would be able to do this for a younger woman. That also provides opportunity for mentoring and discipling. But if nothing else, young moms could swap babysitting each other’s kids so that even every other week they would have that time. I dubbed this idea “Solid Food Sisters” as sisters in Christ we can encourage each other to grow in solid food by helping each other have good solid Bible study time. So look around you and see if there is someone who you could do this for, a young mom who longs for that Bible study time but has young kids that make that time difficult. Offer to babysit once a week so that she can have that uninterrupted time of Bible study. If you have young kids of your own, consider pairing up with another young mom and each of you would have at least every other week of this time. Older women, look at who you might develop this relationship with. Not only are you encouraging a young mom in her growth through God’s Word, but you are developing relationships with the kids you babysit and building into their lives. Let’s be intentional about studying God’s Word and helping each other in this endeavor!
One of God’s attributes is His holiness. This is seen throughout the Bible, but is very evident throughout the book of Leviticus in the description of God’s requirements to approach Him. He cannot abide sin. This is why Jesus had to live a righteous life in our place and die to pay the penalty for our sins. When we place our faith in Christ, turning from our sins, Christ’s righteousness is given to us while our sins are washed away by His blood. God is then able to have a relationship with us.
As we grow in this relationship, God desires that we become more like Christ, which means (among other things) that we are to grow in holiness. 1 Peter 1:15-16 tells us “but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.'” (ESV)
Over the last year or so God has been really teaching me regarding His holiness and how I view sin. With the study of Moses and the Israelites, reading through Leviticus and Numbers, God’s holiness is prominent throughout these books. Then a ladies group I’m in read through Jerry Bridges’ The Pursuit of Holiness together. Quite the convicting book! We don’t often think about how horribly awful our sin is to a holy God. One of the areas that God has been showing me is in the area of television and movies. Sexual innuendo is rampant throughout most TV shows these days. And celebration of sex outside of marriage is commonplace. These are not okay to a holy God. Jesus died a horrible death to pay for these sins that we casually watch on our TV screens. I have found that I no longer have interest in most movies or TV shows now as they portray sin as a normal part of life and even celebrate it.
The battle to be holy is constant and relentless, particularly in the world we live in. Guarding our minds is a challenge. Philippians 4:8 tells us to think about the following things: “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” In the battle for holiness, this is a good reminder. What we read, what we watch, the things that we dwell on – are these things that are helping us to be more holy? If not, shouldn’t we eliminate them from our lives?
Some quotes to consider from the book Holiness by J.C. Ryle:
“It is a solemn thing to hear the Word of God saying, ‘Without holiness no man shall see the Lord’ (Heb. 12:14).”
“Surely that man must be in an unhealthy state of soul who can think of all that Jesus suffered, and yet cling to those sins for which that suffering was undergone.”
“He sees his own many sins, his weak heart, a tempting world, a busy devil; and if he looked only at them, he might well despair. But he sees also a mighty Savior, an interceding Savior, a sympathizing Savior – His blood, His righteousness, His everlasting priesthood – and he believes that all this is his own. He sees Jesus and casts his whole weight on Him.”
“If any reader of this message really feels that he has counted the cost and taken up the cross, I bid him persevere and press on. I dare say you often feel your heart faint and are sorely tempted to give up in despair. Your enemies seem so many, your besetting sins so strong, your friends so few, the way so steep and narrow, you hardly know what to do. But still I say, persevere and press on.”
“The nearer he draws to God and the more he sees of God’s holiness and perfections, the more thoroughly is he sensible of his own countless imperfections.”
*Part of this post was originally posted on Sojourner: Between Worlds in July 2015
What we believe matters. It affects how we live, what we do and say. We can say we believe something but what we truly believe is what will eventually come out in our behavior and attitudes.
It seems many Christians these days are not interested in theology, feeling it is too “academic” for them. Theology is the study of God and learning who He is. We all have beliefs in who we think God is. Theology is studying to understand better the truth of who He is, correcting any faulty views we may have. We all have a theological view, whether we realize it or not. The importance of theology is making sure what we believe lines up with what Scripture teaches so that we have an accurate view of God.
For a personal example of how this plays out, here is the story of a challenging week we had in February 2014. Having a theology of God based on Scripture made a difference in handling the mini-crisis that we encountered. Our cat Mocha had a traumatic experience at the vet on a Monday night and wasn’t eating. She acted like she was sick and we were concerned whether we might lose her. Believing that God is sovereign and is in control was comforting, knowing that we could trust Him with whatever the outcome would be. Our theology gave us something to hold on to while unsure of what would happen. That didn’t necessarily mean that Mocha would recover. God could choose to take her. But we also believe that she belongs to Him and He has the right to do with her as He chooses. Yet He works all things for His glory, so whatever happened would be for His honor and glory. Our theology mattered in the day-to-day routine of taking care of Mocha and trusting that God would give us wisdom for what to do. Mocha is now back to her normal self and is eating fine. Yet this was also a reminder that all that we have is God’s, for Him to do with as He so desires. She belongs to Him whether healthy or sick.
Bible reading and study lead us to develop our beliefs about God – our own theology and doctrines, what we believe about who God is and what He has done for us. This theology and belief about God is then worked out in how we live our daily lives, our own discipleship with Christ and teaching and discipling of others.
It seems that many American Christians are not actively involved in reading and studying their Bible. As a result, their theology and doctrine are weak. They don’t know what they believe and so are tossed about by the winds of the times, the beliefs that are prevalent in the society around them. Without knowing what they believe (and why) they are then unable to defend their beliefs to others. They do not grow in their Christian walk and as disciples of Christ and thus are unable to disciple others in the faith.
We need to be reading the Bible and studying it! We need to be learning theology and doctrine, who God is and what we believe. These things are vital for the Christian to grow.
John 20:30-31: “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (ESV)