These Are Our Stumbling Blocks

Life is full of challenges.  In class this week we talked about the four things most Christians stumble over.  They are somewhat sequential in our walk to spiritual maturity, but not entirely.

The first thing we stumble over, our first hurdle, is SALVATION itself.  We struggle at the very beginning of the path with the idea that we are sinners, that we cannot save ourselves, that Jesus was the Son of God, that Jesus gave His life on our behalf, and so on.  It’s just not so easy to embrace the whole idea.

The next thing we stumble over is THE WORD.  Learning to read the Bible regularly, to study it, to actually understand it, and to make it a central part of our lives can be so darn hard.  We may not understand how critical the Word is to our lives.  And even if we know it’s important, we still tend to neglect it.  It takes commitment, discipline, practice, and maybe some outside help to become a consistent consumer of the Word.

Then there is the LORDSHIP struggle – the idea that God is to be the most important, all-consuming person in our lives.  There cannot be anything or anyone more important than Him.  He doesn’t want to just be at the top of our priority list, He wants to own our whole life!  Surrendering ourselves, our ideas, and our “idols” is an ongoing, life-long process.  We continue to stumble over this for much of our lives.  We may surrender one part of ourselves, only to discover a few months later that some new idol has cropped up.

And finally, we stumble over PEOPLE.  People can be so hard to love – because we are sinners, they are sinners, and that can make for a fine mess.  Yet Jesus clearly told us in Matthew 22:37-39 that the Greatest Commandment is to love the Lord and to love people!  We are not only to love people, we are to make disciples of them and help teach them how to follow Jesus – that was the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20.

So where are you at in your journey?  What are you wrestling with?  Salvation?  The Word?  Lordship?  People?

I challenge you to think it over and discuss it with a friend.  Then decide what you’re going to do about it.  Don’t miss the whole point of your life on earth after you come to know Christ… He has called us to love and to labor.  Let’s do it!

devotional 10/28/2014

The Wheel

I shared with the ladies at The River this week “The Wheel” – a wonderful visual illustration of the Christian disciplines necessary for a believer’s growth.  It’s a great point of reference and teaching tool!

If you are a Christian and have surrendered your life to Jesus Christ, then the next area of concern is what kind of progress are you making in establishing basic spiritual disciplines?

What are “the basics” of the Christian life?  These are disciplines that growing Christians maintain and that we desire to help others establish in their lives.

Wheel

  1. Christ the Center, “Lordship”. The hub of the wheel is Jesus Christ, He is at the center of a Christian’s life. Discuss – is Christ really Lord of all your life, are there areas you struggle to give Him control over? 2 Cor 5:17, Gal 2:20
  2. Word. One spoke of our relationship with God. Discuss – why to read, what to read, quiet times, daily Bible reading, learning to journal, how to do research, etc. Learn to hear it, read it, study it, memorize it, and meditate on it. 2 Tim 3:16, Joshua 1:8
  3. Prayer. The other spoke of our relationship with God. Discuss – why we pray, how we pray, what has God promised about praying, etc. Learn to pray more regularly and fervently, maybe keep a journal. John 15:7, Phil 4:6-7
  4. Fellowship. The spoke representing our relationship with other Christians. Discuss – do you spend time with other Christians, why we need other Christians, the role of the church, ways to stay involved and build friendships. Heb 10:24-25, Prov 13:20
  5. Witnessing. The spoke representing our relationship with nonbelievers. Discuss – the witness of our lives, why witness, how to witness. Learn write a testimony, learn an evangelism illustration, reach out to those she knows. Matt 4:19, Romans 1:16
  6. Obedience. The rim of the wheel, the most visible product of a growing Christian’s life. Discuss – why obey, what to obey, areas of struggle or disobedience. Romans 12:1, John 14:21

Adapted from Walt Henrichsen’s book Disciples are Made Not Born, chapter 8.