3. A disciple is one who receives the Word of God with the intention to obey and apply what he has learned.
James 1:22 “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”
John 15:7–8 “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”
How many Christians today treat the Word of God as a list of suggestions from which they can pick and choose? How many understand that their purpose is to bring glory to God? How many believers use God’s grace as a free ride for being disobedient? Are we grieving over our sin, being serious about repentance and obedience, or are we excusing ourselves for our ignorance and sinful “mistakes”?
Today, within the United States, statistics indicate that over 40% of Christians are on prescription anti-depressants. In 20—plus years of counseling, I have found that a majority of people experiencing depression are either ignorant of or not tending to what God has presented in His Word. There is a consequence for living in disobedience. I am not suggesting that all people on anti-depressants are out of God’s will, but chronic attitudes of discontentment, anger, bitterness, fear, etc. will lead to depression.
Life may bring overwhelming pressure at times, but praise God He has the answer. Galatians 5:22 tells us that walking in the Spirit will result in a life of love, joy, and peace. This does not happen all at once, but will grow as a person seeks to be obedient to God’s will. So what happens when a Christian, out of ignorance or rebellion, is not walking in God’s will? Just the opposite— love, joy, and peace is replaced by confusion, doubt, anxiety and eventually depression. Hopefully, the suffering we experience will motivate us to examine ourselves, seek God’s will and forgiveness where we strayed and begin to do His will.
A certain amount of suffering and difficulty in life is normal, to be expected, and even good for turning us from our sin, ignorance or our independence from God. God allows us to suffer for sin and even disciplines us with circumstances because He is a good, loving father who is faithful in His promise to finish the work He began in each of us.
Hebrews 12:5-6 “And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the LORD loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.”
Philippians 1:6 “…being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
A disciple considers the Bible as direct instruction from God to be obeyed. Any awareness of disobedience is a matter for repentance and requires the application of intentional faith, prayer, and dependence upon the power of the Holy Spirit to begin to walk in righteousness.