Disciples refuse to be defiled

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Jesus was questioned by the local religious leaders on the issue of being clean when it came to food and His response as always was quite cut-throat because He responded by saying the things that are unclean are found in the heart and on the tongue of a person. Proverbs tells us that life and death is in the power of the tongue, and we are also told in the gospels that if we ask for something from God in the name of Jesus (according to His will) He will grant it. Make no mistake here, what you say will have an impact on you life and in the lives of people that you come across.

If you are a believer who struggles with jealousy, coveting, evil thoughts and you allow them to hit your tongue on a regular basis then you cannot be considered a disciple. This seems harsh, and it is because leaders are measured differently to believers even though the call for everyone is to be a disciple. Everyone struggles with something, but it is the fruit of the struggle which counts. You either deal with the struggle or it deals with you and if you find yourself verbalising inner thoughts that are impure then you are most certainly speaking death over yourself and the people that are in your life.

There is no question that in pursuit of discipleship there are going to be many mistakes, and some doubt but the difference between a disciple and a believer is confession. Peter tells us in Acts that confessing sins brings salvation, and I don’t mean the type of confession you see in churches today. Confession means to be open to God and to deal with the impurity that is within you and Apostle Paul was the perfect example of that. He was struggling with a satanic issue and confessed this to God which allowed The Lord Jesus to bring a solution; “My grace is sufficient for you”. Jesus wanted to strengthen Paul in his weakness, thus through confession, Paul was saved from sin and judgment.

So you see yourself giving in? You may ask yourself why. Below are a few reasons why do you allow inner negativity to become outward realities:

You are unaware of your worth in Christ
You are selfish
You are unhappy with God’s promises
Christianity is not a lifestyle but habit

Giving up is easy, it is what everyone else does so, therefore, fighting against these temptations and feelings are unnatural, but a disciple never looks at the natural. The disciple gains a spiritual understanding of what the reasons for impurity are. They dig deep in prayer, worship and reading God’s Word to search out the matter, find the reason and deal with it. We must compare spiritual things with spiritual things, and every thought is a seed, and those seeds need discerning before it turns you or someone’s life into death.

Choose life, because Jesus came to give it in abundance and be totally aware that evil seeds are contrary to God’s Kingdom. There is every chance if you don’t make it into discipleship, then you will not inherit His Kingdom. You have the chance to make a choice today, and that decision means hard work and not accepting anything less than God’s best.

Disciples will die before they allow themselves to be defiled.

Disciples feel conviction

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Conviction is an interesting area which many people fail to understand. The deep rooted feeling within your spirit that something isn’t quite right is regularly ignored however if it is acknowledged there is great freedom to be found. Many Christians usually account convictions as an emotional feeling, but it is a deeply spiritual thing connected to the heart of God the Father. Until we define what conviction is and work out the root, we will continue to ignore the feeling and in return, we will continue to ignore God the Father because avoiding conviction is turning away from God’s heart.

The two examples of conviction that stand out to me from the Bible’s perspective is the case of Peter and the prodigal son. Firstly, Peter was warned by Jesus that He would deny Him during the time of arrest and Peter had time to deal with that prophetic word, but He instead chose to ignore the conviction by turning it into an emotional situation. Alas we have a weakness in Peter and when he denied Jesus the third time as prophesied He felt a deep conviction in his heart, and he wept. I would like to focus on the weeping and the fruits of it because Peter went on to build God’s Kingdom, therefore through denying Jesus, (a severely unholy act), Peter managed to do many great works. Where sin abounds, as does Grace and the key here is that Peter recognised the conviction of doing wrong and repented for it.

Now the prodigal son is a story of a wealthy man who took his inheritance and lived his life to the full in a worldly sense. The boy liked to party, eat well and you know the rest, but when his money ran out, he found himself working in a piggery eating pigs food. Sin does lead you to a form of poverty (emotionally, physically and spiritually) after all but it was at his lowest point he decided to recognise the conviction in his heart which was entirely different to Peter’s. Deep down this prodigal son had a conviction that His Father would accept him back despite living a sinful lifestyle. Hope that hits your spirit hard.

Peter felt the conviction of denial and then went onto to pioneer the first church and faced many tribulations for professing Christ and the prodigal son found ‘acceptance’ through his convictions. When you are being convicted, it is God trying to get a message to you, but if you aren’t walking as a disciple, you will never understand this conviction. Disciples see opportunity, grace, mercy, forgiveness in conviction whereas nominal believers see guilt, condemnation and abandonment.

Stop avoiding conviction and deal with what God is doing within you. David sinned, felt convicted and moved on with God’s will as did many other great disciples in God’s Kingdom so I guess it’s on you now to show you have the faith to do this.

Through faith alone, by His blood.

Disciples do the will of the Father

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God’s will is much spoken about as it should be and plenty of us including those who feature in God’s Word have managed to make a mess of it at some point in time. Disobedience seems to be the root of not allowing God to fulfil His will or purpose in our lives, but we are incredibly thankful to God for His grace and mercy because as we regularly divert from His route, He has already found a way back to His plan and purpose. Many never get back to the road because they find the path too difficult or they struggle with obedience, then there are others who God carves a new course out for which is an amazing example of God’s tender love for His creation. So why do so many live unfulfilled lives?

The simple answer is that believers tend to see God as a genie or a grandfather in the sky. That’s why the atheists are busy laughing and calling God a fairy but if we were busy seeing God for who He is (No man has ever seen Him) then there is a chance that we will see the genuine fulfilment of His will on earth. Below I look at what believers do:

Expect monthly handouts – Like the UN World Food Programme
Expecting instant miracles – Like Maggi Noodles
Expecting blessings to land on their laps – Like babies needing their daily feed

God can do any of the above but they are extremely rare, and they aren’t ever part of a daily lifestyle that we should be living in Christ because I never saw the disciples live like it. Below I look at what disciples do:

They hear God – Relationship
They are obedient to God – Purpose and Desire
They are guided by His Word – He becomes a light to our feet
They overcome expected challenges on the road marked out – Understand spiritual warfare

This is how you can do the will of the Father, and if you want that tight, family-like relationship with God, then you must live like this all the time. Jesus told us in His Word that whoever does the will of The Father is a family member to Him. Your path isn’t meant to be easy, and there rarely is a free ride but if you want to expect then expect the impossible God’s way. God won’t move outside His Word so if you’re expectation isn’t found in His Word then you will never be able to see His will let alone fulfil it.

The blind lead the blind, and it is now time to open your eyes.

Disciples respect God’s Word

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When Jesus spoke to the disciples in the initial days of their calling, they were astonished at His teachings because of the authority that it carried. There was a deep respect for Jesus, and what He had to teach and the disciples were seriously dedicated and craved learning from one they recognised to be The Christ. I spent a lot of time ministering God’s Word in the last 15 years, and the number one struggle I noticed was the lack of drive to read The Bible which also resulted in the lack of a breakthrough, authority and abundant living in these peoples lives.

True disciples understand the power and authority of God’s Word, and they become dedicated, obsessed, in love with it and make it part of their daily time with God. The following three things happen to the disciple who is dedicated to God’s Word:

Faith – They get to know Jesus for who He is, they trust in Him more and rely on His truth
Maturity – They understand God’s ways and respect the issues that they face on earth
Spiritual Encounters – Blessings on every level on a regular basis

Followers do not understand the power and authority of God’s Word, and they treat it like it’s a lifestyle guide when they want to feel better about their situation. Plenty also fail to understand what God is speaking about in His Word, and they quickly give up. The following three things happen to the follower who is not dedicated to God’s Word:

Faith – They lack it and walk in doubt and are rarely happy with life.
Maturity – They fail to grow in the knowledge of God and when tough times come calling they blame The Almighty.
Spiritual Encounters – They have plenty of them but never understand what they mean and the blessing behind them.

God has made it clear that His Word will give direction, cut through the flesh and spirit, help you fight your battles and keep you close to God on that straight narrow path and if you treat this as an everyday morning read, then your life will lack purpose and righteousness. Recognise the power of His Word if you truly want to accomplish His perfect will.

The moment you lose interest in God’s Word is the moment you lost interest in the cross and His blood. Respect His Word and find out the power that it has in your life.

Do you genuinely respect Jesus?
Do you genuinely respect His authority?

We will be known by our fruits!

Disciples teach the ways of Jesus

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True disciples of Christ hold onto Matthew Chapter 28 because it is this very chapter that gives the mandate, authority and release from Heaven to serve and truly follow Jesus. The entire purpose of the disciple is defined in the last few verses where Jesus showed that He was risen from the dead, and as the disciples worshipped Him, He released the following:

Teach Nations
The way of the Father
The way of the Son
The way of the Spirit
The commands of Jesus

This would have been incredibly daunting for The Disciples, and Jesus knew that hence why He added in the final sentence to them that they should not worry, He will always be with them. That is an explicit promise to disciples that even in times of trouble He will be with them and here is the scripture challenge. Jesus never leaves and forsakes us, but when followers move away from God’s will, they abandon Christ. When Disciples move away from God’s Will, they stay close to him because they know the cost of His love, mercy and grace.

In a world full of false teachings, misunderstandings and misinterpretation the way of the disciple has been lost, watered down and mocked. I have heard certain preachers call the disciples idiots for some of the mistakes they made. One called Peter an idiot and another laughed at Thomas for doubting. I am sure the very same people feel that such beliefs help justify them the message they preach. The 12 Apostles will judge the 12 tribes of Israel at the end of time. Shudder before you speak against such believers!

In whichever capacity you feel released by Jesus, please remember the mandate and the rules that He has set you as a disciple and teaching people doesn’t mean preaching at them or standing up and speaking publicly. Do life with people, show them Jesus every day and use that relationship you have built up to teach them about, The Father, The Son, The HolyGhost and the commands of Jesus. If you feel a little lost do what the disciples did; Worship Him in Spirit and in Truth.

In the words of John, little children do not believe every spirit.