May 6, 2016

No one is ‘my’ disciple

The more I walk with Christ and the deeper this relationship becomes, the greater my freedom to be the person God created me to be. I cannot prove that by observation or even by a sense of being increasingly spiritual or holy — I just know that it is true because the ideas and desires that once held me in bondage are falling away. This prisoner is no longer shackled.
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1)
Paul said that we are slaves to whatever we serve. The overall picture is either God or sin, but sin takes many forms, some less obvious than others.

One yoke of slavery is the sin of living by and pushing my personal opinion. I can easily assume I am right (whether from education or mere pride) and that others don’t know what they are talking about. That is arrogance, and also bondage. For one thing, such an attitude marks me as unteachable and bound in narrow-mindedness. Other people sense it immediately and would say I was full of myself, or a know-it-all, thinking descriptions less polite.

Chambers says a spiritual minded person does not demand that others believe this and that, only that they ‘square’ their lives with the standards of Jesus. Christianity is not about believing the Bible, but believing the One whom the Bible reveals.
You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. (John 5:39–40)
Believing what the Bible says is great, but as long as it doesn’t make me a dogmatic theologian who never spends any time with Jesus or tells others about Him. It is Christ who sets me free, not my doctrine. This freedom is about having a clear conscience. It is about living as a servant of Jesus Christ instead of a servant to sin.

However, when I start telling others what to believe and how to live, then I run the danger of interfering with how Jesus is managing their faith and their affairs. Chambers is right in saying that it takes God a long time to get us out of this notion that unless everyone believes the same as I do, they must be wrong.

Of course there are certain tenets of faith that are not negotiable, like Jesus is God’s Son, sent to die for our sin, was crucified, and rose from the dead. But if God is leading another person to a different style of worship, or ministry, or way of praying, I’ve no business telling them that they are wrong because they must do these things the same way I do them.

I’m to be patient and kind, not fudging the truth if another person is in error or confused, but sometimes it is me that is out of touch with God’s truth. The point is, each of us must let the Lord have His way in our own lives. In making disciples (a command from God) I’m supposed to teach them what He has taught me remembering that the idea is to produce followers of Jesus Christ, not convert people to my own prejudices and opinions.

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