Monday, November 9, 2009

In the way of allurement

Years ago I taught a Sunday school class on "being a disciple of Jesus."  This week I found myself looking up the notes because I needed to whack myself upside the head with them.  They served me are a few thoughts to serve you too:

To be a disciple in the simplest sense of the word just means to be taught by another, but that doesn't go far enough when talking about being a disciple of Jesus because you can learn from someone you don't admire, you can be a pupil of someone you care little to nothing about as a person, you can be a student of someone without caring a hoot about their personal goals, and you can sit under someone's teaching simply as a means to an end (like getting a degree) without  having any interest in putting that knowledge to use.

    This doesn't fly for followers of Jesus.  His own call to us is to "Follow Me."  Those two words involve His person and His plan.  Disciples of Jesus join Him in His mission; loyal to Him and His purposes.

    • Luke 14:25-33 helps us understand that we need to rightly esteem Jesus and be devoted to His person.
    • Luke 11:1-4 and John 8:31 show us to cry out "Lord, teach us"  - we ought to be eager to know His ways.  What are His goals and His principles for how to pursue those goals?
    • James 1:21-27 makes it clear that we need to be doers of what He says; cheerfully, not grudgingly.
    • If we don't want what He wants, which we often find is the case while our old man clings to us, we need the Holy Spirit to work in us to line our desires up with His (Matt. 16:24-27; Rom. 8:5-9; 1 Cor. 2:14; Gal. 5:22-25; Eph. 5:8-17). 
    In an earlier post I wrote about the four living creatures in Rev. 4 who never rest from taking in the beauty and glory of God nor from praising Him.  Why is it we're not overtaken with awe like that all of the time?  Well, a part of it may be because this side of resurrection, we see dimly...I have every hope that one day, when I see Jesus face to face, being filled with awe will never be a problem again.

    Another possibility is that we need to feed our souls better.  Jonathan Edwards wrote "our hungerings and thirstings after God and Jesus Christ and after holiness can't be too great for the value of these things, for they are things of infinite value...[Therefore] endeavor to promote spiritual appetites by laying yourself in the way of allurement...There is no such virtue as temperance in spiritual feasting."  This is not to the end that we become so heavenly minded that we're of no earthly good, BUT so that the things we do on earth are full of God's glorifying purpose and joy.

    I let life get busy, too busy these past few weeks...busy with things that didn't keep in mind Christ's person or plan directly.  Distractions can lead me down wrong paths quickly (it only took a few weeks to lose God-exalting purpose and joy), so I praise the Lord for friends who confront me with grace and remind me to lay myself once more in the right "way of allurement."  I thank the Lord for old notes that remind me to keep Christ's person and His plan in focus.  God has graciously restored the joy of my salvation.

    Let us faithfully follow Him: His person and His plan.

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