How blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord. How blessed are those who observe His testimonies, who seek Him with all their heart. They also do no unrighteousness; they walk in His ways. You have ordained Your precepts that we should keep them diligently. Oh that my ways may be established to keep Your statutes!
Life seems to go by so quick. It seemed like yesterday I was being dropped off by my parents at Tennessee Tech University with no friends and not a clue with what I wanted to do with my life. Now five and a half years later I find myself in Nashville, TN beginning the next chapter of my life. I have just started work with a company called edo Interactive (there is suppose to be a line above the o). I have enjoyed my first two weeks a bunch. I currently am living in Smyrna, TN which is about twenty-five miles from work. That doesn’t seem to far, but in Nashville traffic that equates to about an hour drive. So the commute has been a little rough, but nothing terrible. I have been thinking a lot about my life and where I would like to see it go and one big question that I’ve have been faced with is “Am I playing games with Christianity?” When Apostle Paul wrote Romans 6-8 he was addressing one big question and that question is “How does grace work in a person’s life?” The answer Paul gives is simply: Grace works by changing a person from the inside.
Paul first says that grace has completely saved them through the blood of Christ. Making them perfect through what Christ has done (this is called justification). The second is through sanctification (which is the process by which God makes us into the image of Jesus). Once Paul establishes this concept in Romans 6 he then lays out two different concepts in Romans 7, one being sin and the other the Law (or Ten Commandments). He then declares a very simple statement that says, “The Law is good, righteous, and holy. And sin is utterly wicked, enslaving, and debasing.” Now for us this may be common sense, but when we go deeper into these statements there is much more than meets the eye.
For me this has been something I have been challenged with quite a bit because Paul is trying to get me to see that I must be fighting sin and not just killing sin, but doing righteousness. Living out Christ’s obedience. And the crazy thing is I don’t obey the Law simply because I want to be moral, but because sin keeps me from loving, focusing, and cherishing God. Sin keeps me from a deeper intimate relationship with God and so when I am pursuing righteousness (the Law) my relationship with God grows deeper. I can focus on Him and begin to really see and experience the love that He is giving me through the blood of Christ. This perspective has helped me so much lately. Not just with seeing my need to fight sin. But helping me see that I have been playing games with Christianity. I toy with sin and do not run to Christ as treasure.
God has been showing me that my life should be about One person. God. And not because He is “whipping” or “making” me, but because there is nothing better to run to. So now I have begun to walk through Psalm 119 simply because I need better perspective on the Law of God. I want to truly believe and be convinced that this Law is exactly what I need to pursue in order to have a deeper and more intimate relationship with God… completely free from sin! Because if we are not convinced that the Law is here for our good then we will never go to it. We must truly be convinced that the Law is not a burden and Psalm 119 has really challenged me to see that. I don’t want to play games with Christianity. I want to honor and love God with my life and observing the Law is one of the main ways that can happen.
Over the past week I have had the opportunity to visit a few areas in Arkansas with several friends that I go to school with, Taylor Tollison led the group of students to many different parts of his home state, Arkansas. After spending several days and meeting with many different people and learning many different things about being a follower of Christ I had many different take aways, but there was one take away that really stuck out to me. That take away was to make disciples. Now I know that many within the Campus Outreach ministry will roll their eyes at this and go “duh”. I know that every Christian that is a apart of any discipleship group (or small group) know that this is what they are called to do. I know that anyone who has heard an emotional sermon on the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20) know that this is what they are called to do as well. But even with all the conferences that I’ve attended, all of the different Campus Outreach events I was apart of, and even being led, for four years, by a guy who is committed to this very goal of disciple making I was still struck when I reached the realization that disciple-making is what my life is all about.
Before the trip if you were to ask me what my life vision was I would have definitely said to make disciples. This has been something that I have thought about for a while and even though I am not very good at it I am still sold to this very idea. Now while this is all very fine and dandy there is still one very important question that really hits home on this idea of the Great Commission. That being how are you going to make disciples? I may have been sold out to the idea but how can this idea be accomplished. This is a very good question one that I probably couldn’t have given a very good answer prior to the Arkansas trip.
So what was it about Arkansas that God used to open my eyes to this art of disciple-making? After five days of driving around the state of Arkansas, meeting several different people in all different sorts of life and seeing many of them actually making great attempts at sharing their faith and pursuing the Great Commission I really began to see that disciple-making is a life style. It’s not about going to church, or how much Bible reading you do, or the amount of Scripture you memorize it is all about your life. I’ve always heard the term life-on-life and I thought it was another cheesy cliché that had no value or meaning, but I was wrong. Life-on-life is exactly how Christ made disciples. Jesus told them to follow Him and they will become fishers of men. It is crazy to think that Jesus never took them through different Christian books or had them memorize Scripture or even made them attend church. Jesus spent His life with them. He brought the disciples around to look at his life, to see how he shared his faith, to see how he loved people, to see what it meant to love God with all your heart and soul. The disciples got to experience so much more than a program, they got to see and experience the life of Christ.
Spending the week at Arkansas I got to see what that meant and what it looked liked to go out and make disciples. I got to see it from real imperfect men who knew they messed up but knew that they had to continue to pursue the Great Commission. Seeing these people’s lives opened my eyes to see that the Christian life is not about compartmentalizing everything into little blocks and pieces, but the Christian life is about living. There is no such thing as spiritual work and secular work it is all for God and His Kingdom. I got to see discipleship in a practical light, I saw that discipleship is about being committed to living life in a godly manner worthy to be followed, exalting the Father and pushing men to the Savior through the Spirit. I am very grateful for the time I spent in Arkansas. It was refreshing to get to see others living for the King that I so desire to serve. I am also so very grateful for the picture that most of them set before me, by their lives. These are far from perfect men, but they are lovers of God and they are seeking to go and make disciples, which is what all Christians should be striving to do.