Welcome to 2018!
I was reminded recently that some years ago I had been involved in a discipleship course called MasterLife. It took as its starting point those words of Jesus in John 15 about remaining or abiding in him and the follow-up, “apart from me you can do nothing”. For me this is a timely reminder as 2018 arrives: whatever I do, unless it comes from that relationship, is in vain. As I recall five disciplines branched out from this.
The importance of ‘living in the word’ through reading, meditation and obeying the Bible was essential to this spiritual abiding.
As you might expect, prayer or ‘praying in faith’ was included.
During his ministry Jesus closely involved his disciples, teaching them what it means to be in fellowship with each other. The on-going importance of Church family life is stressed which encourages loving, supportive and deeply caring relationships. Out of this ‘abiding in Christ’ flows a depth of fellowship that is uniquely precious.
The fourth discipline was being a positive outgoing witness for Jesus, seeking to share with those not yet believers the great truths of our faith. Personal testimony and not preaching was key to this.
The final area was that of serving as a disciple of Jesus, using faithfully those spiritual gifts that were being given by the Spirit, so that the needs of the church’s ministry and mission were being met.
All these are not what we are to do in order to remain or abide in Jesus, rather they flow from this relationship of love. They are the response of those committed to Jesus. As we travel into the New Year, will you join with me in reconsidering the part that these vital areas of discipline play? Remember the words of Jesus, “apart from me you can do nothing.” Who knows what he has in mind!
We continue to pray for those who are unwell, bereaved and who are anxious – may God touch your lives with his transforming love.
Happy New Year!
Blessings and Love