As I have been praying and working toward the appointment to a new church…I have been giving great thought to our vision and mission statement. If as discussed in my last blog we are to “make disciples” as the mission of the church; it leads the next thought to that of a personal one…how do I become a disciple of Christ. Is it more than just going to church on every Sunday of your life (although that is a part of spiritual growth); it is more than just saying that you are a disciple (I could say that I’m the President of the US but I cannot get my organist to play “Hail to the Chief” as I enter); and it is more than just believe that Christ is the Son of God (Scripture says that even the demons believe in this). So what do I do to become a disciple?
I have just attended a great conference in Orlando for New Church Planters and one of the gentlemen who spoke (Wayne Cordero) stated that you will hear a lot of people saying to read this and do that and that may be good advice, but for the foundation of Spiritual Growth…look to what Jesus did. Let me give you a couple of examples:
1. Solitude: (Un-distracted time with God) This was a holy habit for Jesus. Life is going to get hectic, it’s going to get overwhelming with work; raising children; marriage; finances; even the commute to and from work. Take some un-distracted time with God. Put away your cell phone; don’t check your e-mail; turn off the TV, radio, I-Pod, and text messaging and get away from other people so that you can spend some un-distracted time with God. Luke 6:12-13; Luke 22:39-43; Matthew 14:13; Matthew 14:22.
2. Sabbath: Most of us are heavily burdened with worries and a host of responsibilities. Jesus promises rest for their souls. (Matthew 11:28-29). Rest, inspiration and play are precious pathways that can renew our souls. We need to take time to rest.
3. Silence: Mother Theresa said “Silence of the heart is necessary so you can hear God everywhere–in the closing of the door, in the person who needs you, in the birds that sing…” and the Scripture tells us to “Be Still and Know I am God.
4. Prayer: There are many examples of Jesus praying. Mark 1:35 “In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed.” Spiritual growth into discipleship cannot and will not happen without prayer. A personal conversation with God in which one listens as much as one talks. Jesus had such a prayer life that it amazed his disciples (Jews who had probably prayed their whole life, yet they say something different in the prayers of Christ) they came to him and,said, Jesus, teach us to pray.
If your desire is Spiritual Growth and you want to be a Disciple…look to the Master. Find out what he did in his life and use those activities as the foundation of your growth. You can’t go wrong and it will make all the difference in your life.