Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Pattern of Prayer - Discuipleship - Leading

"And do not bring us into temptation...." Matthew 6:13a (HCSB).

Here we come to the last two request dealing with us as believers. And they both deal with the area of discipleship in our lives. What is discipleship?

Rick Warren gives this definition of discipleship. 

"Discipleship is the process of transformation that changes us to be increasingly more like Christ through the Word (John 17:17), the Spirit (2 Cor. 3:18), and circumstance (Rom. 8:28-29). Growth is both mystical and practical; God has a part (“Only God makes things grow” 1 Cor. 3:7)  but we have a part as well (“…put off…and put on”Eph.4:22-23).  Discipleship is based on continual repentance (“Be transformed by the renewing of your mind”  Rom. 12:1-2).  It takes far more than Bible study to grow a disciple – it takes a balance of worship experiences, fellowship experiences, engagement with the Word, ministry experiences, and evangelism/mission experiences. Without balance there is no health, and without health, there is no growth. Jesus modeled both the method and goal of all discipleship, moving the 12 from “Come and see” to “Come and die!” over a period of three years....  If you don’t have a process, you aren’t making disciples, because spiritual growth is not automatic. Discipleship is intentional, incremental, relational, covenantal, habitual, and incarnational."
First, Jesus here speaks of asking God not to lead us into temptation. The word temptation used here (peirasm) can mean trial or testing. We know from James 1:13 that "No one undergoing a trial should say, 'I am being tempted by God.' For God is not tempted by evil, and He Himself doesn’t tempt anyone." God never tempts us to do evil, however He will test our faith. When a teacher administers a test, it is not to make a student fail, it is to see what they have learned and how proficient they are in the subject matter. Faith is only as good as the object of that faith - self or God. How we respond to these tests will determine whether they build us up or tear us down. It will disclose whether we place our faith in God or in something else.

In Hebrews 11 - the Hall of Faith chapter, we see that all believers have been tested. Everyone who trusted in God through these tests were mightily used of God. To the glory of God they were able to do what to most seemed impossible. It is serious and dangerous to play lightly with sin and tempt ourselves. We do not need to see how close to the edge of the cliff we can stand and not fall, but to be safe and not play that game.

When God allows tests to come into our lives, they are not designed to make us fall - they are there to strengthen us in our walk. This will only happen when we place our faith in the proper object - Jesus Christ. And, when we successfully complete the test - we will have grown in our walk with the Lord.

Today, muse over where you truly place your faith - in God or in something else (some people place their faith in faith). What can you do to place it in the proper object? So, why not do it now.

Trusting Jesus
Edgar Page Stites

Simply trusting every day,
Trusting through a stormy way;
Even when my faith is small,
Trusting Jesus, that is all. 

Trusting as the moments fly,
Trusting as the days go by;
Trusting Him whate’er befall,
Trusting Jesus, that is all. 

Brightly does His Spirit shine
Into this poor heart of mine;
While He leads I cannot fall;
Trusting Jesus, that is all. 


Singing if my way is clear,
Praying if the path be drear;
If in danger for Him call;
Trusting Jesus, that is all. 


Trusting Him while life shall last,
Trusting Him till earth be past;
Till within the jasper wall,
Trusting Jesus, that is all. 


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