More from Rickie Jenkins chapter in the book 12 Spiritual Disciplines.
Consider another area of our lives, that of discipleship. A disciple is not only a learner and follower but one who tries to become like his master. A teacher taught his disciple and the disciple took on the personality, character, disposition, nature and teaching of the master (Luke 6:40). When I become like my teacher that affects the way I think, talk and even handle my possessions (Luke 9:25). It affects how I relate to my family (Luke k. 14:26). Disciples of Jesus are transformed into His image (Rom. 8:29). When I become like Him how will that affect my priorities? How will that affect what I value? How will that lead me to please God before and above myself (Luke 6:46)? Obedience is an attitude of submission to God and complying with His will in all things (Col. 3:17; John 8:29). So, have my possessions taken over my life (Luke 12:15)? Am I redeeming the time by giving myself in discipleship to Him above all else (Eph. 5:17). In the parable of the unjust steward Jesus commends the sons of this world and says, “They are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light” (Luke 16:8). Jesus is not commending the unjust steward’s unjust behavior. He is simply saying the steward knew what he wanted and he went after it, no excuses. Everything was subjugated to that one thing. In that way he is wiser than sons of light who say they want abundant life in Christ but instead everything else is more important. No, for this steward there was just one important thing. Will we do all we can to save our own souls? There is one telling sign. “He that is faithful in least will be faithful in much” (Luke 16:10). However, if we are unjust in using our riches they will testify against us. “No man can serve two masters…” Our hearts tell on us. Are we genuine? Is Christ in us? Are we judged qualified?
Further, consider how we respond to the word. The Hebrew writer said of the Jews, “The word they heard did not profit them…” (Heb. 4:2). James said, “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was” (James 1:23-24). What good does it do to hear the word if in the end we are not going to do anything with what we have heard? When Paul preached to the Athenians, they told him to come back when he learned something new. They loved to hear new things (Acts 17: 32). Hearing was just a past time for many of them. They were fascinated by some new thing. It did not profit them. The Jews heard the word preached but it did not profit them. We have the word preached, will it be of profit to us? Are we hearers and doers or like the individual who looks in a mirror and goes away the same as he came? No change. The word will change the heart but it must be heard and applied. When I hear or read the word and walk away because, “I am okay and you are okay” it is of no profit. I must ask, “How does this apply to me? How can this make me more like my Master? How will this help me become a more Christ-like person with my neighbors, enemies and family?” The word was intended to be engrafted so that which was filthy would be laid aside and that which was holy implanted (Jas. 1:21). Why learn that Christ is righteous if am not going to practice righteousness (1 John 2:29)? Why learn that He is pure if I am not going to strive to be pure (1 John 3:4)? Why do learn to love my brother if in the end I am still going to hate him (1 John 4:7)? Are we genuine? Is Christ in us? Are we judged qualified?
Self-examination is a real challenge, but imperative. If God were to open the private door to the arena of your heart, would he find Ashtoreth, Baal or Moloch winning the match? If so, ask Him for self-control. He longs for you to be a winner. Remember the words of Paul, “I fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have kept the faith” (2Tim. 4:7).
As we continually examine ourselves in every area of life let’s strive to be completely honest, measure ourselves by Christ and resist the temptation to rationalize. Embrace the truth of God and apply it. It will transform you.
-end of series.FROM THE BOOK 12 SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES, published by Expository Files.