“Do not punish me, Lord, by taking my cross from me, but comfort me by submitting me to Thy will, and by making me to love the cross. Give me that by which Thou shalt be best served...and let me hold it for the greatest of all Thy mercies, that Thou shouldst glorify Thy name in me, according to Thy will.”
What is this discipline? It is teaching and training in the Word of the Lord! That is discipling. But let’s take it further, a disciple is a student who desires to become as his teacher (Matthew 10:25) but if a disciple decides to take his own road, or thinks he knows more than his teacher, there is discipline involved to redirect him in a way that will be to his benefit and growth. An example is given us in Matthew 10:24, “The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.” Proverbs 22:6 tells us, “Train up a child in the way he should go:And when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
No one can be a disciple without being transformed with a new mind that takes captive every thought to the obedience of Christ! No, they aren’t perfect, but the desire in their heart is. They are so much like their Master, they have counted the cost and still pick up the cross that Jesus has laid out for them, and consider it an honor and privilege to carry it, even to death. There may be mental and/or physical suffering, but all they ask is for God’s grace to show them how to endure to the end.
Many of you may be thinking that this does not apply to you because you haven’t been called to be a missionary. This isn’t about being a missionary, it’s about being a disciple, the new creature that you were called to when you accepted the call of the Savior to lay down your life and take up His. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
(II Corinthians 5:17)
Were you aware that your salvation was really an exchange? You exchanged your life of sin and self-sufficiency for the life of Christ which is a life of obedience, holiness and servanthood. You confessed that you had a great need for both a Savior and a Lord to come into your heart because you could not do it alone. Your life was a mess the way you had been living it, and you knew that Jesus’ plan was for good, to bring you a hope and a future!
Maybe you were so excited and on fire for the Lord and wanted everyone to know about Him. And then, someone started telling you that you were “radical” and alienating people. And you backed off, went back to the old ways of life and just worshipped the Lord in church services, and maybe helped out at outreaches. After all, suffering for Christ wasn’t part of the bargain. Or was it?
Let’s consider some verses:
Romans 6:6, “...that our old self was crucified with Him,...”
(AND THIS IS ON A CONTINUAL BASIS – DYING TO SELF, DYING DAILY)
I Corinthians 15:31, "I affirm, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily."
II Corinthians 4:10, "always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body."
Romans 6:11, “Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”
Romans 2:13, “for not the hearers of the Law are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified.”
Romans 12:1-2, "I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
I Corinthians 2:12, "Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things freely given to us by God,”
II Corinthians 7:1, “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”
Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.”
Now may we take these next two passages into our prayer closets and allow the God of Grace and Mercy unfold Truth, the life of Jesus Christ in us.
II Corinthians 13:5 admonishes us to “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you-unless indeed you fail the test?”
In I Corinthians 3:11-20 the Apostle Paul goes into great detail to demonstrate the outcome of our works, whether they are the preordained plan that God laid out before the foundation of the world was laid, or one that we decided was good enough. Please read with me: “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain. "
Now consider the words of the prayer we began with, “Do not punish me, Lord, by taking my cross from me, but comfort me by submitting me to Thy will, and by making me to love the cross.”
I close with one of my favorite passages that, I believe, exemplifies what our captive was praying. It is Matthew 16:24-25, “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it.”
Abba, my prayer today is that we, Your called, begin to see with Spiritual eyes and walk in the Spiritual authority You have given us. The walk You have called us to is not one we can do on our own, not by power, nor by might, but by Your Spirit alone! Jesus clearly directed us to enter the narrow gate, which is very small, and there will be few who choose it, but it is the only way to life eternal! We bow our hearts and our knees today and repent for our unbelief and lack of spiritual awareness. We turn to Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of our faith for guidance and direction and will seek out His truth in Your word that we may not be deceived with a false or watered down gospel. Your Son gave His life that we might have life, how can we do otherwise and be deserving of the precious gift of eternal life? Thank You for a spiritual awakening in us today. We thank You and glorify You today in the precious name of Jesus Christ! Amen.