Category Archives: Devos

When “Discipleship” Becomes Boring…

I was there at the beginning when he experienced “new birth” … My friend had a powerful, life-transforming experience with the Lord!  At the outset, his walk with the Lord was characterized by passionate love, devoted service and tenacious faith that simply trusted the Lord with fearless abandon.  The Christian life for my friend was one grand, exciting adventure.

Then it seemed spiritual boredom and weariness began to set it.  The adventure of serving the Lord turned into mere duty.  Love was less ardent.  Discipleship became tiresome routine – spiritual disciplines minus passion.  If the truth were told, it appeared following Jesus had become just a little boring…

I thought of my friend this morning as I read this analysis of some believers in a first century church in Ephesus (from Revelation 2:1-5) …

“I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil… I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary.  But I have this against you – you have abandoned the love you had at first” (one version simply calls it “first love”!) …

I have to admit it – a time or two I have felt I had the telltale symptoms of that spiritual disease!  It scares me to death!  What can you do if passionless Christianity and mere dutiful discipleship sets in?  What’s the remedy for lackluster love for the Lord?

THE GREAT PHYSICIAN – THE LORD JESUS CHRIST – PRESCRIBED THREE THINGS FOR BELIEVERS IN EPHESUS

REMEMBER … how far you have fallen.  Remember what it was like when serving the Lord was more than going through the motions and instead was driven by Spiritual passion and ardent love.

REPENT … turn around, acknowledge your Spiritual malaise to your Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, your Savior.  Change your mind and heart about serving the Lord.  Refuse to settle for loveless Christianity!

RETRACE YOUR STEPS … find out where you got off track, where you “lost it”, when-where-and-why you began to operate on Spiritual autopilot.  Do a course correction!  In the words of Scripture… “do the works you did at first!”

Don’t be like the guy that knows he’s on the wrong road but keeps on driving, refusing to ask directions, unwilling to acknowledge that things just aren’t right.  Serving Jesus is too wonderful – too fulfilling – too filled with miraculous, life-transforming living to simply morph into day-in-day-out, mundane, boring ritual.  He said, “I have come that they might have life and have it abundantly!” (John 10:10)  Don’t settle for anything less!

“Resist Him Firm in Your Faith!”

Push back!!  You don’t have to take it sitting down!!  Or as my brother, Wes, says it… “Com’on, don’t be a spiritual woose!!!”

Here’s how Peter urged believers under attack by “the enemy – the adversary – the devil” to respond… (1 Peter 5.8-11)

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  RESIST HIM, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.  And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.  To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.”

Several things came to mind this morning as I read that passage during my time of “coffee with the Lord”…

  1. The attacks of the enemy are real… and he’s sneaky and devious!!!  Alertness to his devices is called for!  Don’t take your spiritual adversary lightly – his goal is your failure and eternal destruction.
  2. Push back!  Arm yourself with the Truth – what you know to be true from God’s word and your personal experience of God through Christ… be “firm in ‘the faith!’”
  3. Be aware that you’re not the only one experiencing spiritual attacks… it’s the common experience of believers “throughout the world” (and I might add, it has been the common experience of believers throughout the ages)!  Others have faced (and are experiencing) the enemy’s attacks and have overcome!  You can too!!
  4. And finally… “The God of ALL grace – the One who has promised to provide everything you need to overcome – will “make your strong, firm and steadfast” (and even if you falter and fail a time or two, He will “restore you”)!

So… Hang in there!  Don’t let “the adversary” intimidate you… he may bluster – he may roar!  God is greater!  Through His grace you can (and will) overcome!!

“Shepherd Style Leadership” – The “Jesus Style”

During “coffee with the Lord” I read a wonderful passage from God’s word – a passage that addresses the subject of leadership – 1 Peter 5.1-5.

“And now, a word to you who are elders in the churches… As a fellow elder, I appeal to you: Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly – not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God.  Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your own good example.  And when the Great Shepherd appears, you will receive a crown of never-ending glory and honor… And all of you…  serve each other in humility, for “God opposes the proud but favors the humble.”  (New Living Translation)

My doctorate is in leadership.  I can tell you there are all kinds of leaders and leadership styles… Transactional, autocratic, bureaucratic, charismatic, democratic-participative, laissez-faire, task-oriented, people/relations-oriented, transformational and servant-leadership!  And the list could go on…

THIS PASSAGE, HOWEVER APPEALS FOR A “JESUS-STYLE” OF LEADERSHIP – the style of “the Great Shepherd.”  Jesus said…

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep.   A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep.  I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me…  I sacrifice my life for the sheep.”  (John 10:11-15 NLT)

I want to be that kind of leader!  I need that kind of leader!  As a follower of Jesus, I HAVE THAT KIND OF LEADER!

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