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Paul J. Bucknell
Purpose: Gaining an Overview of the Situation, the fourth part in the second lesson of Discipleship 2: Reaching Beyond Mediocrity series, points out the beauty of the path of life and how this second level focuses on obtaining the fullness of Christ in our lives now!
Let us now get a bigger picture of what is happening in our spiritual growth. We have identified some key components to spiritual growth. This overview will further clarify and hopefully simplify our understanding. Fortunately, we do not need to be smart or clever to understand these things. In fact, we will wonder why we never saw these things before.
We will start with the 'path of life.' This path marks the road that we should walk. The pathway is comprehensive in that it includes all that we think, do and say. ￼The Lord has set boundaries (shown by the two lines) for expressing our love for Him and others through obedience. The scriptures call this the way of the righteous or the fear of the Lord. Let's look at a few of these verses.
"Nevertheless the righteous shall hold to his way, and he who has clean hands shall grow stronger and stronger" (Job 17:9).
"For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish" (Psalms 1:6).
"So you will walk in the way of good men, and keep to the paths of the righteous" (Proverbs 2:20).
"Then he charged them saying, "Thus you shall do in the fear of the LORD, faithfully and wholeheartedly" (2 Chronicles 19:9).
"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments; His praise endures forever" (Psalms 111:10).
These verses set before us the path that the Lord has set before each one of us. Just because we are His children, we do not always walk within the path. Sometimes we go astray. When we go off the path, there are consequences. We are leaving God's best for something inferior, no matter how attractive it looks.
If we only always walked on this road, our lives would be so much easier, but unfortunately we often go astray. Praise God for His great mercies on the way He deals with us even when we go astray. Even the Psalmist who had all the hope state, "I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek Thy servant, For I do not forget Thy commandments" (Psalms 119:176). The Flow reminds us of God's constant purpose to grow us. He has not forsaken us. We only need to return to Him.
In the first level of discipleship we have studied vital scriptures on how to get on that path (salvation), stay on that path and get back on that path when we get off.We will review these basic teachings and deepen our understanding of them as necessary when we deal with individual issues in future lessons.
Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that when we do what is right, we are trusting and obeying God, just as the hymn 'Trust and Obey' reminds us. Blessings follow our life.
This is true even when we are unconscious of our trust. (We are unconscious of our trust in the Lord because it has become so effortlessly relied upon. Normally we do not think of breathing because it is so easy to breathe. In any case, we are still trusting the Lord.)
Spiritual growth is best defined as a development of our faith in God. We are positively responding to who He is and what He has revealed to us. The opposite is aberrations. Aberrations of that faith form inner and relational problems.
For example, right now I am thinking of a wife who has written two long accusatory letters against those instructing wives to obey their husbands. I do not know this woman, but she has plenty of bad things to say about me!
Her husband was probably glad she left him. I can understand that it is not always easy for women to submit to their husbands (some situations are deplorable), but this lady cannot even appreciate the good and normal way God has outlined her to live. She is totally stripped of any hope that submission as it states in 1 Peter 3:1-4 is honorable and brings good results. As a result she disobeys and in this case resents those who teach otherwise.
Please understand. Obedience works wonders - even when you do not feel like it. There are no other shortcuts or ways to avoid His commands. What He directs us to do is the very best thing for us. This element of trust that we learned early on in our belief in Christ will do us wonders if we unquestionably follow and obey. The problem is when we do not trust His Word as best. The word of God, however, is that which brings us to victory.
Discipleship at the 2nd level
by Paul J. Bucknell
Discipleship at the 2nd level
by Paul J. Bucknell
God's Word comes alive as you learn how to use it to overcome personal struggles like anxiety, depression, pride, lust and anger. God has made you strong! Many worksheets! (300+ pages). This is the full resource with all the complete and updated pages included!
Scriptures typically quoted from the New American Standard Bible unless noted:
(C) Copyright The Lockman Foundation 1988