I discussed in the previous post how when we first become Christians we are put under pressure to perform. Jesus came to perform two ministries, Redemption & Restoration. Redemption was achieved at the cross and with Him rising from the dead.
2Co 13:9 For we are glad when we are weak and you are strong. Your restoration is what we pray for.
2Co 13:10 For this reason I write these things while I am away from you, that when I come I may not have to be severe in my use of the authority that the Lord has given me for building up and not for tearing down.
2Co 13:11 Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.
We as the human race individually need to be restored to what God had originally intended for us. How do we do this? The answer is the Fruit of the Spirit.
Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
Gal 5:23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Gal 5:24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
Gal 5:25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.
Gal 5:26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
If our aim in life is to grow in all the above fruits then we will become what God was intended. There are two processes involved in the life of a Christian – Doing & Being. This is kind of a chicken egg scenario. Do we do to be or should we be to do. Let us look at Jesus. All we see Jesus doing is doing. Why is this so? Because He was already full of the Fruit of the Spirit. He didn’t have to BE because He already had it so He could concentrate on DO. Do we start doing to get the being? I don’t think so. I think we should concentrate on the being first so we can be more effective in the doing. Having said this I think that if we obtain a certain amount of the fruit then we can start doing and then in the doing we are able to see the deficiencies in out character to ask for more fruit.
An example would be someone who is called to be a Pastor. A Pastor should have a certain amount of love, patience, kindness and gentleness before embarking on the career of pastor. If we do not become distracted then the doing will help increase the being. We need to look at Paul’s progression to understand these processes.
Paul was called and commissioned on the road to Damascus.
Act 9:13 But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem.
Act 9:14 And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.”
Act 9:15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel.
Act 9:16 For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.”
When Paul got his sight back he started preaching the Gospel but death threats were issued against him and the disciples in Damascus has to let him over the wall in a basket. He then went to Jerusalem and did the same until the Apostles packed him off to Tarsus. Paul had a very significant revelation of Jesus and who can blame him for preaching Christ but he was a babe at this point. He did not get the discipleship training that the 11 had. From the book of Galatians we see that Paul went somewhere in Arabia and also Damascus before being called by Barnabas to minister in Antioch. Paul and Barnabas then did a fund raising trip to raise money for the Christians in Jerusalem that were hard hit by a famine. Then he did some missionary trips.
The whole point of the above is to show that Paul was exiled by God for the first few years after his calling to mature, to develop some fruit of the spirit and to learn the ways of God. (Remember the New Testament did not exist at this time.)
We need to change our thinking on the process of being a Christian. We need to spend time developing the fruit of the spirit and disciplining ourselves. The discipline we need is the same that soldiers or professional athletes go through.
1Co 9:24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.
1Co 9:25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.
1Co 9:26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air.
1Co 9:27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.
Discipline is needed for prayer, reading scripture and controlling the wants of the body. When John Wesley was doing his thing he had his followers up at 4am for prayer. Considering this what does Matthew 28:18-20
Mat 28:18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Mat 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
Mat 28:20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Jesus spoke these words to the 11 disciples/apostles not to all his followers at this time. They were mature and had been discipled. They were to make disciples not just converts. Their job was to preach, teach and disciple and that means we should be taking new converts then helping to discipline them to do the same at God’s timing not our timing.