Basic meaning of the word, “disciple”:
“student,” “pupil,” “apprentice,” or “adherent,” as opposed to a “teacher.”
In the ancient world, however, it is most often associated, with people who were devoted followers of a great religious leader or teacher of philosophy.
The Hebrew term for followers is fromלמד which means “to learn” or “instruct.”
Being a disciple one must have a willing, listening, and obedient heart. A teachable heart that follows instructions.
Hearing and doing.
Trusting and obeying.
The Greeks used the term μαθητής to refer to a “learner,” or on a more committed level, an “adherent.”
Discipleship as a Call to Personal Commitment to Jesus
In the Bible, discipline has a positive and essential place in the lives of God’s people.
God had prescribed a way of life for His people. They had to learn how to be obedient.
The process by which God’s people learned obedience was the
“discipline of the Lord” (Deuteronomy 11:2 NIV).
Discipline comes from a Latin word “disco” which means to learn or get to know, a direct kind of acquaintance with something or someone. Discipline refers to the process by which one learns a way of life. A disciple was like an apprentice who was learning a trade or craft from a master. Such learning required a relationship between the master who knew the way of life (discipline) and a learner (a disciple). Within this relationship, the master led a learner through a process (the discipline) until the learner could imitate or live like the master.
In the Old Testament, the covenant relationship between God and His people made Yahweh the Master.
Through praise and correction, God led His people.
The goal was to bring His people to a kind of maturity where obedience was the rule rather than the exception.
Parents, judges, kings, prophets, and wisemen worked with God in teaching His people.
Successful discipline resulted in a life pleasing to God.
The earliest setting for discipline was the family (Deuteronomy 6:20-25 ).
(from Holman Bible Dictionary: Discipline)
Not my will but Thine.
So don’t feel sorry for yourselves.
Or have you forgotten how good parents treat children, and that God regards you as His children?
My dear child, don’t shrug off God’s discipline,
but don’t be crushed by it either.
It’s the child He loves that He disciplines;
the child He embraces, He also corrects.
God is educating you; that’s why you must never drop out. He’s treating you as dear children.
This trouble you’re in isn’t punishment; it’s training, the normal experience of children.
Only irresponsible parents leave children to fend for themselves. Would you prefer an irresponsible God?
We respect our own parents for training and not spoiling us, so why not embrace God’s training so we can truly live?
While we were children, our parents did what seemed best to them.
But God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God’s holy best.
At the time, discipline isn’t much fun. It always feels like it’s going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it’s the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God. (Hebrews 12:4-11)
God is continuously in the business of making His children into what He wants them to be.
And He knows when and how to answer our prayers to make it happen.
Cutting short that process by answering our prayers too soon or the way we thought He shold
deprives us of His divine perfecting.
God changes caterpillars into butterflies,
Sand into pearls,
and coal into diamonds.
Using Time and Pressure
He’s working on you too.
When we say, “I can’t resolve the problem.“
God says, “Trust in Me.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
“I will meet your needs“
“I will teach you.”
“I will show you and give you revelation.”
“So that you understand the covenant I have made with you.”
Strength from Weakness
Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head,
I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations.
Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees.
No danger then of walking around high and mighty!
At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it.
Three times I did that, and then He told me,
“My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.”
Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift.
It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness.
Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become. (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)
Don’t look for the exit sign
Be a Disciple
It is difficult to persevere, confident of God’s timing and faithfulness, when circumstances scream at us to find the nearest exit door from the place of testing. One lesson we must learn is that God’s process for maturing us usually runs directly through the wilderness of testing and opposition.
We walk through the valley of the shadow of death to learn about our shepherd’s rod and staff. Only after the lesson of that valley are walked through does He prepare a table for us in the presence of what opposed us and then the anointing pours over us and the cup of blessing overflows. (see Psalm 23).
God desires to pour out the full measure of blessing, but not before the desert place has tested our hearts and proven His. When we try to “run on swift horses” to escape the process designed to teach us repentance, rest, quietness, and trust, God is obligated to send the process swiftly to the next place we run until we finally embrace it and learn His heart.
Remember, God is gracious and longs to show compassion, but He cannot do so if we constantly run for the nearest exit from the place He has determined we will discover it.
Lord, teach me to view my circumstances through Your eyes. Help me to rest in You and not run from what I must walk through in order to receive Your anointing and blessing found only in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, Amen.
Shared from Paul D. Blank, Pastor
Immanuel Christian Fellowship, Manheim, PA
God Takes the Time to Do Everything Right
Don’t Throw It All Away
So, friends, we can now—without hesitation—walk right up to God, into “the Holy Place.” Jesus has cleared the way by the blood of his sacrifice, acting as our priest before God. The “curtain” into God’s presence is his body.
So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.
If we give up and turn our backs on all we’ve learned, all we’ve been given, all the truth we now know, we repudiate Christ’s sacrifice and are left on our own to face the Judgment—and a mighty fierce judgment it will be! If the penalty for breaking the law of Moses is physical death, what do you think will happen if you turn on God’s Son, spit on the sacrifice that made you whole, and insult this most gracious Spirit? This is no light matter. God has warned us that he’ll hold us to account and make us pay. He was quite explicit: “Vengeance is mine, and I won’t overlook a thing” and “God will judge his people.” Nobody’s getting by with anything, believe me.
Remember those early days after you first saw the light? Those were the hard times! Kicked around in public, targets of every kind of abuse—some days it was you, other days your friends. If some friends went to prison, you stuck by them. If some enemies broke in and seized your goods, you let them go with a smile, knowing they couldn’t touch your real treasure. Nothing they did bothered you, nothing set you back. So don’t throw it all away now. You were sure of yourselves then. It’s still a sure thing! But you need to stick it out, staying with God’s plan so you’ll be there for the promised completion.
It won’t be long now, he’s on the way;
he’ll show up most any minute.
But anyone who is right with me thrives on loyal trust;
if he cuts and runs, I won’t be very happy.
But we’re not quitters who lose out. Oh, no! We’ll stay with it and survive, trusting all the way.