Sunday – January 9, 2022
Word On Worship – Sunday – January 9, 2022
“Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.”
There is a popular but mistaken view that there are two optional tracks for the Christian life. If you’re prone toward hard work, you can sign up for the discipleship track. Under this plan, you give up everything to follow Christ. You have to deny yourself and take up your cross daily and endure hardship and sacrifice. The other track, the “cultural Christian track,” is for the rest of us more “ordinary” believers. Under this plan, you can accept Jesus as your Savior (to make sure that you’ll go to heaven), but also pursue your dreams for success and personal fulfillment in this life. You get the best of both worlds without needing to be gung-ho, like those on the discipleship track.
The idea that discipleship is optional or a spiritual perk for those who have the inclination is a myth. Jesus’ mandate to make disciples goes beyond informing the mind; it aims to shape the character. It encompasses tutoring the heart to forge godly character as well as training disciples in practical ministry skills. New Testament discipleship targets the head, the heart, and the hands.
The process of sanctification (what God does) is inseparably related to discipleship (what we do). Sanctification is only possible when this process is initiated and infused with the Holy Spirit who comes to live in the heart of a believer. Christianity is not hard; it’s impossible. You can’t live a Christian life apart from the Spirit of Christ. Discipleship is not a matter of turning over a new leaf, but rather, receiving a new life. God, by His Holy Spirit, comes to live in the heart of the believer. He creates new affections (new loves, new desires) that inform the mind and empower the will. Paul captures this idea when he says: “…continue to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.” (Phil 2:12)
Note your work and God’s work. You (the believer) are to work out your salvation. Not to work for your salvation but to work out what God has already worked in as a free gift. I understand what a “workout” is and does. A physical workout takes time, energy and effort and over time will reshape the body. Likewise, spiritual practices take time, energy and effort, but over time will reshape the soul. This happens as God does His work in this – “to give you the desire and power to do what pleases Him.” Embrace the Good News. Jesus came into this world to die for our sin and to be resurrected to new life, so you can encounter Him and let Him empower you to live the life He calls you to. Then prompted and empowered by the Holy Spirit, commit yourself to the things Jesus calls you to do.