Disciples 20190-004

Disciples       2019-004

What is a disciple?  A follower of Jesus Christ who decides it is more important to follow Him and that takes precedence over all other things.  Sounds strict, direct, committing, or very definitive.

A disciple tries to act like and look like the one they are following, namely, Jesus Christ.  Being a disciple means submitting oneself to Jesus and becoming part of the spiritual development process in learning to live all of your life in this submission to Him.  The key here is the word “submit”. Another word could be to surrender oneself to Him.

Being a disciple of Jesus requires us to also strive to make disciples of others, teaching them to observe all that Jesus taught to His original disciples of his time. Sort of like “sharing” the news…..

I have found it is NOT easy to be a disciple, but easier to call oneself a disciple of Jesus Christ. Just like it is normal for many to call themselves a Christian, but where they do not practice at being one.  

The journey to get closer to God has many pathways with stumbling blocks in the way, at times. If I go to church, that fact does NOT make me a disciple of Jesus. If I do community service work, that fact does not make me a disciple either. 

Once more; submitting to Jesus Christ and involving oneself in the spiritual development of learning to live the life in the submission to Jesus is the path to becoming a disciple.  Just stating that I am a Christian does not make me a disciple of Jesus either.

Living the life of a disciple and teaching others what Jesus said and proclaiming the Word of God as written in the Bible are the beginning actions of being a disciple. This is NOT a part time endeavor, but a full-time life choice that again, takes precedence over all other things in life.

This commitment does NOT mean becoming a religious hermit or monk of some sorts, doing things in a monastery or other place of worship. It does require our lives to be changed to one of acting and living the life of a disciple and spreading God’s word to all. The goal is to make disciples of others that you meet or know and have them become as you are now.

It means not being afraid to announce that God’s presence is nearby, God is alive and active, and aware of all of us and more importantly, Jesus Christ is our Savior in life.  

It is NOT easy, but Jesus Christ never promised easy to His disciples that traveled with Him or to those in the future that want to make the claim of being one.   

Peace,
Den Betts

bettsden@gmail.com    Email

thebettsden.com            Blog site

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Submit and Surrender 2018-56

Submit and Surrender!  2018-56

Sounds like a line from a TV show episode, but I am not referring to anything like that reference!

First off, allow me to define both words for you per Merriam Webster dictionary:

To Submit: To act always obedient, particularly to a master. This would be like a pet to an owner, or a slave to a master, but involves yielding oneself to the authority or will of another.

Surrender: to yield to the power, control or possession of another upon compulsion or demand. This would particularly be as a prisoner.

So, what do we do if we are going to submit ourselves to God and surrender ourselves to Jesus Christ? And, why should we do so? I realize that some could care less, but some do, so I will continue.

I have commented on this at one time, when I partook of a reaffirmation of my baptism. After the service was done, I declared that I was going to submit myself to God and surrender myself to Jesus Christ! I said this, but in hindsight, I was not sure of the exact meaning of what I said and what it entailed!

Since then, I have found that God is a demanding God. He does not want us to serve or submit to Him, because we are just supposed to do so. He WANTS us to do so, because we love Him!

Ok, I believe in Him and DO love him, yet I find that submitting to Him is a commitment; one that is difficult to do so in totality. It is making a commitment of ALL my energy, emotions, thoughts, and actions toward God.  Quite a package to consider!!!

I feel I am NOT doing what I could, to fulfill my commitment, but also believe, I AM working on it.  It is a slow process for me but one that I think is going in the right direction.

The same goes for surrendering myself to Jesus Christ. All that I have said about submitting to God applies to this surrendering to Jesus Christ.  I will NOT beat myself up in this matter, just make these statements.  I might hold myself to a high standard for doing these thing with God and Jesus, but feel they have a higher standard themselves for me.  So be it!

Therefore, I will Keep working on how to satisfy God and pray I have their help and understanding, which I really think they are doing for me.  I know one thing for sure!! I am a better person than what I was before, I have a deeper relationship with God and am feeling better about myself and others. I would NEVER have found this out, unless I made the first step toward becoming closer to God and in doing so, my life has been changed; changed forever.

I would suggest that you consider what I have stated above and give it some thought. I am on MY journey and it works for me.  I wish anyone reading this to begin their journey in any way that they feel comfortable, any way they feel good, and maybe, just maybe, they will find the contentment that I have found, the joy that I experience, in my journey.  It really is neat and wonderful………….

Thanks be to God!

Peace,
Den Betts            bettsden@gmail.com   Blog @:  thebettsden.com

SUBMISSION – Disciplines 2014-20

Submission Disciplines    2014-20

Martin Luther supposedly said, “A Christian is a perfectly free lord of all, subject to none. A Christian is a perfectly dutiful servant of all, subject to all.”  That statement somewhat sounds confusing to me!  Webster states that to submit is to yield to a power of authority and to be submissive is to be humbly obedient.

People can use religion as a way to bondage and religion has done much to manipulate people regarding the subject of the teaching of submission. In discussing the Spiritual Discipline of Submission we must realize again the purpose of the Disciplines. We learned at the very beginning that there is really one goal for the Disciplines, namely, to experience a life of relationship and intimacy with God.  By themselves, they have no value, but they have value, only as a means of setting us before God so that he can give us the liberation we seek in finding Him. The Disciplines are the means, but not the answer to finding liberation, they lead us to the Answer of finding God through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

That being said, “What do we think Submission is, in relation to being a Discipline?”

I had a hard time with this word myself. I made a statement at my Affirmation of Baptism on 3-30-13, that I will “Submit myself to our Lord God and surrender myself to our Savior Christ Jesus, as His disciple”. This was stated then, after much deliberations, prayer and thought and I have my own ideas of what I meant when I made this statement.

We are told to submit ourselves to God (James 4:7). In Ephesians we read the wife is to submit to her husband as unto the Lord and the husband is to “love” his wife (Ephesians 5:22-25). This passage is one that could be debated today though…… The Apostle Peter writes, “Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. Being older, I like this one!!!  All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble’” (1 Peter 5:5). The theme here is one of humility. One cannot submit to God without humility. Obedience requires us to humble ourselves to surrender to the authority of another, and we are told that God resists pride—the opposite of humility—and the arrogance that fosters that pride.

Almost all of what I have read has to do with submission to others in a humble way, with God loving us for doings so; let me explain.

The biblical teaching on submission focuses primarily on the spirit with which we view other people. This concern for a spirit of consideration toward others pervades the entire New Testament. The old covenant stipulated that we must not murder. Jesus, however, stressed that the real issue was the inner spirit of murder with which we view people. In the matter of submission the same is true; the real issue is the spirit of consideration and respect we have for each other.

What are the actual “Acts of Submission?”

The first act of submission is to the Triune God. At the beginning of the day we wait, in the words of the hymn writer, “yielded and still” before Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. As the first words of the morning are of submission, so are the last words of the night. We surrender our body, mind, and spirit into the hands of God to do with us as he pleases through the long darkness. The cross is the sign of submission, through Jesus Christ, our Savior.

The second act of submission is to the Scripture. As we submit ourselves to the Word of God living (Jesus), so we submit ourselves to the Word of God written (Scripture). We yield ourselves first to hear the Word, second to receive the Word, and third to obey the Word.

The third act of submission is to our family. The primary deed of submission is a commitment to listen to the other family members. Its corollary is willingness to share, which is itself a work of submission. 

The fourth act of submission is to our neighbors and those we meet in the course of our daily lives. The life of simple goodness is lived before them. If they are in need, we help them. tools. No task is too small, too trifling, for each one is an opportunity to live in submission.

The fifth act of submission is to the believing community, the body of Christ. If there are jobs to be done and tasks to be accomplished, we look at them closely to see if they are God’s invitation to the cross-life. At times calls to serve the Church universal may come, and if the ministry is confirmed in our hearts, we can submit to it with assurance and reverence.

The sixth act of submission is to the broken and despised. In every culture there are the “widows and orphans”; that is, the helpless, the undefended (James 1: 27). Our first responsibility is to be among them. There we must live the cross-life, which is the sign of Submission.

The seventh act of submission is to the world. We live in an interdependent, international community. We cannot live in isolation. Starving peoples affect us. Our act of submission is a determination to live as a responsible member of an increasingly irresponsible world.

The Spiritual Discipline of Submission is complex and is more detailed than what I have shown above. This could be a lesson plan that can be discussed in detail, but I have elected to just show what is included and perhaps we can delve into depth regarding Submission, at a later time. The commitment to the Discipline of Submission is NOT AN EASY ONE, and I feel that we all can “strive” toward accomplishing the goal of submitting to our God. I have only highlighted the thoughts of Robert Foster that he presented in his book, “Celebration of Disciplines” and when you get his book, there is SO MUCH detail in it, that you can read and understand.