Thursday, July 7, 2016

The importance of daily practice . . .



Chambers throws out a challenge: “If we are going to live as disciples of Jesus, we have to remember that all noble things are difficult. The Christian life is gloriously difficult, but the difficulty of it does not make us faint and cave in, it rouses us up to overcome.”

The Bible says that I am to live as a disciple of Jesus in the same way that I became a Christian . . .
“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” (Colossians 2:6–7)
How did I receive Him? His part was to awaken me to my sinfulness and to His power over sin. My part was to confess (agree with Him) my sin and submit to the Holy Spirit, letting Him fill me with His power. This is not only true for initial salvation, but also applies to daily life and spiritual growth.

When any Scripture seems to speak only to the unsaved, Chambers thinks of how those verses apply to Christians. That is, every challenge in the Christian life is the same as the challenge of receiving Jesus and walking in faith. Jesus says . . .
“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. (Matthew 7:13–14)
God saved me by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. He works in me both to want His will and to obey it. This is the salvation that I need to put into practice in daily life and that life is also narrow and difficult, not wide and easy. However, as Chambers says, practice in the small things enables victory in the crisis situations. If I cannot resist even the most mundane of temptations, how can I resist those most dangerous?

This practice includes spiritual disciplines. Peter describes them as adding virtue to virtue . . .
“For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:5–8)
Without doing the daily stuff, I will not be ready for the tough stuff, yet Chambers thanks God for allowing the tough stuff, those difficult challenges that test His people for all we are worth. Jesus is bringing many “sons unto glory” which means God will not shield me from what is required to be like Jesus. Otherwise, I’d be a weak and ineffectual person.

I once felt insignificant to God because I didn’t sense Him calling me to do important things. Yet in the very beginning of my Christian experience, He impressed upon me that everything that happened in my life would be used as part of His make-over plan, that I would be transformed and like Jesus. Could there be a greater calling?

Yet it to live as a disciple of Jesus Christ takes a great deal of discipline in the ordinary things of life. Can I mop the floor with thankful joy? Can I be gracious to telephone solicitors? Can I be patient with rude neighbors? Can I glorify God when I want a pat on the back instead?

The list of daily stuff is long and that is a good thing — I need the practice.


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