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28 February, 2014

What is Discipleship?

The first time I read this piece from the Ransomed Heart devotion book, I somehow expected the end to list my previous Church. It is exactly the same model they were following and still following today. Since God called me into the wilderness, I have visited dozens of Churches and sadly, they all follow proudly the same format.  The idea of discipleship that permeates the Church today is such as the stumbling block for Christians. Believe it or not, I used to be so proud of my Church, my pastors and all of our programs. I am not complaining, after all, even in their misguided ways, God used them to find me.

Through interactions with people in the Church I learned how important it was to apply those Biblical principles  and to learn to behave in a certain way. Until God found me, I had no way of knowing the Church format was not pleasing to Him and serve mainly to replicate the Pharisee's  way. 

The difference between applying principles and walking with God is as drastic as the difference between life and death. It is the difference between finding, living and experiencing the joy of the freedom we have in Salvation Vs bondage. It is the difference between knowing God and knowing about God. It is the difference between truly loving God and lip service. It is also the difference between salvation according to our understanding and Salvation according to God. 

Now, because the eyes of my heart have been opened, I do not touch these programs at all, even with a ten foot pole. While God has taught me a lot as to why we have this problem where we apply biblical principles as a substitute for Christianity, but one of them that touched my heart deeply to the point of grieving is that MANY of today's pastors not only, have not been called or equipped by God to lead anyone in this manner, but they have erected and are leading Churches just because they can.  This is the same time when God taught me about His own Church, His true Bride. This was also the time, I stopped criticizing other Christian denominations.

It was sad to see, those people who used to put me down because they felt that I did not demonstrate clear evidence of spiritual growth by learning to control myself in the flesh, God had showed me how wrong they were in their assessment of me and of themselves. Because of what He showed me, when I sing songs that talk about how God look into our hearts and search much deeper within us, I am grateful and humble at the same time. Words like that evoke gratitude and humility in my heart because I know I was always the underdog in my Church simply because I did not know how to be someone that I was not on the inside. Yet God called me forward and separated me. During that time, I learned what God meant when He said "judge not lets Ye be judged". He vindicated me.  

This post below is courtesy of Ransomed Heart Devotion
What have we come to accept as "discipleship"? A friend of mine recently handed me a program from a large and successful church somewhere in the Midwest. It's a rather exemplary model of what the idea has fallen to. Their plan for discipleship involves, first, becoming a member of this particular church. Then they encourage you to take a course on doctrine. Be "faithful" in attending the Sunday morning service and a small group fellowship. Complete a special course on Christian growth. Live a life that demonstrates clear evidence of spiritual growth. Complete a class on evangelism. Consistently look for opportunities to evangelize. Complete a course on finances, one on marriage, and another on parenting (provided that you are married or a parent). Complete a leadership training course, a hermeneutics course, a course on spiritual gifts, and another on biblical counseling. Participate in missions. Carry a significant local church ministry "load."
You're probably surprised that I would question this sort of program; most churches are trying to get their folks to complete something like this, one way or another. No doubt a great deal of helpful information is passed on. My goodness, you could earn an MBA with less effort. But let me ask you: A program like this—does it teach a person how to apply principles, or how to walk with God? They are not the same thing.

May God have mercy on us!