The Power of Discipleship

 

So far we’ve discussed getting closer to God by activating our faith and listening for His ‘”knock on our hearts.” In this post, we discover the power we have when we become disciples of Christ.

In Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus told His eleven disciples (Judas was no longer a disciple as this was after His crucifixion and resurrection.) “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

This scripture is often referred to as The Great Commision. As Christians, we too are called to this commision. But, what does it mean to be a disciple? How do you become one?

Discipleshiptools.com defines a disciple as one who:
Grows in Christ and in so doing models and teaches others the precepts of the Bible, prayer, doctrine, relationship, Christian living, service, and worship, to name the main ones.

That speaks a lot about who we are as well as Who we serve. If we don’t follow Christ nor obey His word, it would be difficult to call ourselves disciples of Christ. The rewards of becoming a disciple are endless! The Bible tells us that God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

When we answer the call, or better yet, “follow our purpose in life,” we are following God’s will, dying to our own desires and choosing to do what He created us for. Discipleship doesn’t always involve a “pulpit” or standing on street corners. Sometimes it’s in our own homes, places of work, with friends, family, or even strangers. Serving Him is the most important thing we can do.

In Matthew 28:16-20, Jesus promised the disciples that if they would do as He instructed, then: “surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (What an awesome thought!)

Imagine the power given you based on your obedience? In 1 Corinthians 4:20 it clearly states, “For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.”

Want to discover more about this power God has given those who follow Him and obey His commision? Here are two more scriptures referring to this power:

Luke 24:49, “And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high”

Acts 1:8, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

Are you a disciple of Christ? i

Listen For God to Knock

Last time we talked about one way to be close to God is by activating your faith. Today we’re going to learn how to Listen for God to Knock.

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. Revelation 3:20 KJV

When Jesus spoke these words, He was speaking to the church in Laodicea. He starts out saying…

I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.

He’s pleading with the people who choose not to pursue Him whole-heartedly. People who “play” at church–sometimes praying, sometimes believing. He’s asking them to repent in how they’re living and give up the “self-righteous” choices they are making.

Sometimes we think because we “belong” to a church and attend bible study we are living the Christian life. However, we aren’t sincerely seeking God, serving Him, and worshiping Him. We are actually “lukewarm Christians.”

The door is your heart and the knock is God’s gentle voice calling to you, asking you to leave your evil, self-righteousness and self-made doctrines that don’t serve Him. When you open the door and repent of the evil in your lives, you are able to “sup” with Him and receive more of His Spirit pouring over you.

Romans 10:17 tells us, So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

So, how do we hear His voice? We can do it in a various way: attend bible study, go to church, listen to audios of sermons or Christian podcasts, read the Bible, pray, and intently study the word.

When we listen for God’s “knock,” that is the moment He is led into our hearts. When we allow Him in, He brings with Him, love, power, understanding, grace, and mercy, all of which break down the worldly self and bring in the new spiritual self!

How can you bring about this change?

Matthew 6:33 says But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

After you find Him, remember to let Him in. This is as simple as saying: Lord please come into my heart.

Lastly, get in a quiet place and listen intently for His voice. Do this every day and you will feel closer to God.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. – Romans 12:2

Another post you might want to read is this one.

Activate Your Faith

The first of the 5 ways to stay close to God is by activating your faith.

Hebrews 11:6 reads: “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him.

God is pleased when we seek Him first. It shows our trust in Him. Having faith means you believe in something you can’t see.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. — Hebrews 11:1 NIV

Although you may visually picture what it is you desire, it’s not yet obtainable. In order to have faith, you also must trust God in a way that some people aren’t able to comprehend. Not because they can’t, but because they don’t choose to.

When we put our faith in God and diligently seek Him, nothing is impossible. As a matter of fact, faith helps us to desire His will over ours. The word diligent means: a constant in effort to accomplish something; attentive and persistent in doing anything. When we diligently seek God, it has to be a “constant” and “attentive thing we do.”

In order to activate faith, we must also develop faith. We all know that Jesus is the Founder and Perfecter of our Faith. Having a constant relationship with Him in prayer will give us a fresh understanding of who God is and what it means to be in a relationship with him.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you believe He exists?
  • If so, are you in constant relationship with Him?
  • How often do you pray?
  • Are you studying the Word of God?

To read more about communicating with God through prayer you can click here.

As Mark 9:23 reminds us: Everything is possible for him who believes. 

5 Ways To Stay Close To God

We are living in a time where people are craving to restore relationships. Healthy relationships provide reassurance that you are loved, cared for and valued. The most important relationships we need to cultivate is our relationship with Jesus Christ. In 2012 Pope Benedict XVI shared the following message on Easter Sunday:

“A fruitful life comes from staying close to Jesus — Dear friends, every one of us is like a vine, which lives only if it is growing every day in prayer, participation in the sacraments, in charity, in its union with the Lord, and he who loves Jesus, the true vine, produces fruits of faith for an abundant spiritual harvest.”

So how can we remain close to God? In the next five posts, I will discuss 5 ways you can strengthen your connection to God. It is my prayer that you discover a renewed Spiritual and joyous relationship with God through these messages.

The 5 Ways To Stay Close To God are:

Activate Your Faith.
Listen For God to Knock.
Understand the Power You Have Been Given.
Be Humble and Draw Near To God.
Understand God’s Love For You.

Fruit of the Spirit–Affirmations

Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

We’ve spent the last 10 posts learning about the 9 Fruits of Spirit and today I’m going to give you a gift that will help you internalize those gifts with a PDF of affirmations.

So, what are affirmations?

Affirmations are meditation sentences aimed to affect our conscious and subconscious mind. The words composing the affirmation bring up related mental images into our mind, which can inspire, energize and motivate us.

In Philippians 4:8, Paul gives us specific guidelines on what we are to think or meditate about.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.
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Fruit of the Spirit Self-Control

 

 

Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Fruit of Self-Control

Self-control, is the ninth Fruit of the Spirit and an important quality to possess. The Scripture tells us that our flesh and spirit are warring against each other in this life. This fruit is the divinely-given trait that enables us to battle the flesh and gain “self-control” over our sinful nature’s to stay self-focused.

Operating in self-control gives us lasting victory over oppressive struggles such as addictions, hot temper/anger issues, judgment and critical attitudes, and unforgiveness.
Allowing the Holy Spirit to lead and infiltrate us in this area will produce strong and visible fruit for all to see, and give glory to God!  Spiritual self-control is not merely about our temper. It’s about resisting the temptation to break God’s laws. Self-control governs all the other fruits of the spirit.

It takes self-control to show a godly love rather than a superficial love. It takes self-control when we have godly joy when we are facing difficult situations. It takes self-control to get along with others in peace instead of entering into conflicts. It takes self-control to patiently deal with others. It takes self-control to be kind and look to the needs of others rather than yourself. It takes self-control to do good, and not evil. It takes self-control to be a gentle servant of the Lord.

Our perfect model for self-control is Jesus Christ. He was always the perfect example of using self-control to allow God’s will to happen.

 

Fruit of the Spirit-Gentleness

Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

 

Fruit of Gentleness

Gentleness is the eighth Fruit of the Spirit. Gentleness is defined as “mildness combined with tenderness,” “controlled strength,” and “equitable, reasonable, forbearing.” The gentleness the Holy Spirit gives us is not a weak gentleness. It is a strong, controlled gentleness woven with humility and restrained behavior. We are powerful. We can speak words that hurt, or heal. We can act in ways that help, or hurt. The gentleness in our spirit channels the power we have.

This gentleness helps us be spiritually sensitive to another’s situation. When we are gentle, we put aside pride and serve others out of humility. The Holy Spirit is the perfect guide, as He demonstrates tenderness in the face of life’s difficulties.

People will respond favorably to us if we truly allow the Holy Spirit to fill us with gentleness, which is why God gives believers this fruit. By being human examples of the living Spirit here on earth, we become fruit producers for God!

“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” James 3:17, NIV

 

Fruit of the Spirit-Faithfullness

 

Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

The Fruit of Faithfulness

Faithfulness, the seventh Fruit of the Spirit, represents God’s Spirit dwelling within. us. The fruit of faithfulness compels us to complete every good work for His glory. There is only one prerequisite to this faithfulness, believe in Him–His existence, His works, and His character.

The word “faithfulness” literally means “fidelity which makes one true to his task or promise,” and “steadfast, dedicated, dependable.” Faithfulness instilled by the Holy Spirit in us is necessary to stay loyal to God, each other, family, and friends. The results will be less heartache and broken trust, which is the temporary faithfulness the world offers.

Hebrews 11 gives examples of people in the Bible who exhibited this faithfulness: Noah, Abraham and Sarah, and Rahab, to name a few.  They kept faith in God and His promises, sometimes for years.  Do you choose to walk in faith and never give up? To trust in God’s steadfastness?

“For we live by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7, NIV

Fruit of the Spirit-Goodness

 

Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Fruit of Goodness

Goodness is the sixth Fruit of the Spirit. The quality of goodness acts like a magnet in us to the rest of the world, drawing people directly to God. People are drawn by the visible effect of goodness in our heart, as they feel safe and can trust this divine quality, a quality that doesn’t waiver like human goodness.

Goodness also means “love in action,” and, “quality of being good.” We cannot of our own will manifest this quality because our sinful nature goes in the opposite direction, looking out for the interest of “self.” Goodness instilled in our heart by the Holy Spirit is the only true “Godly” type. The person who shows this type of goodness is always looking to serve others and their needs, and putting self last.

Goodness is a fruit that can be cultivated and grown in our lives. When it’s grown and used, then goodness becomes an inherent action and intrinsic part of who we are. We become attuned to selflessly acting on the behalf of others, for their good. The Spirit intends for others to see our goodness. We are to let our good actions be seen as a testament to Him. Choose to let others see the goodness in you and through the things you do for others.

“I myself am convinced, my brothers and sisters, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with knowledge and competent to instruct one another.” Romans 15:14, NIV

Fruit of the Spirit-Kindness

 

Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

The Fruit of Kindness

Kindness, or goodness, is the fifth Fruit of the Spirit, and it also works together with love. Once the Holy Spirit’s gift of love becomes more visible in us, kindness naturally follows suit.

Kindness is  “steadfast love,” “goodness of heart,” and “gracious aid in times of need. A gentle word, a soft answer, or a helping hand—all demonstrate the fruit of kindness. Kindness is when we show a tender concern towards others. Kind acts are the actions that meet the real needs of others.  This is a beautiful quality to have and to show, and like all the other fruits, we are completely dependent on the Holy Spirit to infuse their personalities with it. Only then will the height of gentleness be reached.

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32, NIV