DAILY DISCIPLINE #127
By Colleen Donahue
With the eyes, our body can take in light that enables us to see physically. Thus Jesus calls our eyes "the lamp of the body". Our eyes in the physical realm are equivalent to a man's spirit in the spiritual realm. When our spirits are alive with the Holy Spirit indwelling us, that we are able to receive light (or revelation) from God. With this revelation, our soul (mind, will and emotions) becomes enlightened and thus we guide our bodies what to do and how to act.
Are you sitting in darkness or is God's light aglow in your life? In these few verses we are given clarity concerning the deepest part of us -- i.e.our spirit. It is either alive or it's dead. The good news if our spirit is dead is that it can be made alive and resurrected. But..... there is a cost involved. This study looks at ......
Coming Out of the Dark and the Cost of Being a Christian
Matthew 6:22-24/ Matthew 8:18-22
Distorted Vision and Darkness - Matthew 6:22-23
Day 1- If a man's spirit is dead -- i.e. without God -- then he has no capacity to receive revelation from God. (It's like his eyes have been poked out.) The only light such a man has is what he can glimpse from inside of himself and compared with the light that God gives a man this is darkness.
Matthew 6:23 / 1 Corinthians 2:14
Day 2- What is a person like whose spirit is dead?
Deuteronomy 28:29 / Psalm 82:5a / Proverbs 4:19 / Isaiah 59:9-10 / John 12: 35b / 2 Timothy 3:7
Day 3- Who works hard to keep men from receiving the light or revelation that God wants to give to every man?
2 Corinthians 4:4
Day 4- How does a man contribute to his own darkened life?
John 3:19 / Acts 28:27 / Ephesians 4:18 / 1 John 2:11
Day 5- How is a man's darkness removed which enables him to receive light from God?
John 8:12 / Acts 3:19 / 2 Corinthians 3:14-16 / 2 Corinthians 4:6 / Colossians 2:13
The Cost of Being a Christian - Matthew 6:24
Day 6- We can never accuse Jesus of trying to recruit followers before they knew what would be involved. He wanted his disciples to count the cost before making a commitment. Our English translation does not exactly express the meaning here of the Greek words. The word for serve comes from the Greek word douleuein which means to "be a slave to" and the word for master is kurios which denotes absolute ownership. Therefore it could be rewritten to say that "no man can be a slave to two owners."
Day 7- "Wait!" you say. "No one owns me. I do what I want!" But think again. Each one of us becomes a slave to whatever controls our thoughts and ultimately our actions. If you can't stop eating then you are a slave to food and food is your master. If everything you do is to please people so that they will like you, then you are a slave to other people.
Day 8- Do you have two owners? Something owns us when we can't stop thinking about it. Our thoughts and thus our actions are consumed with whatever it is. Our time and energies are directed by it. Jesus uses here the most obvious example of the time we spend making money. If all our energies are spent making money or growing our business, where does that leave our commitment to God? What happens when we are divided like this?
Matthew 6:24b / Luke 9:62 / James 1:7
Day 9- Jesus makes it clear that there is no split service possible. God wants our undivided attention and loyalty. Yes, we have a job to do on earth but all that we are given here on earth is not ours to keep. We are only the channels of all God gives us so that we can bless others. We are only managers of money but God owns it. Even our time is not our own. All of it belongs to God and we are to serve him only.
Deuteronomy 6:5 / Matthew 4:10
Day 10- Today as it has been in all generations, there is a temptation to follow God while still "enjoying" or "doing" or "having" what everyone else in our society is enjoying, doing or having. But God is not fooled by this and we become people that are half hearted, doubleminded, indecisive and insincere. God may give us these things anyways. But if we grab them for ourself they become our gods.
Deuteronomy 6:14-15 / 2 Kings 17: 33,41 / 2 Kings 18:20-21 / 2 Chronicles 25:2 / Jeremiah 3:10 / Luke 9:62 / 1 Corinthians 10:21
Day 11- If you have been split between two masters, then there is only one way back to being the full time servant of God that alone will bring you satisfaction.
1 Samuel 7: 3 / 2 Kings 23:3 / 2 Chronicles 15:12,15 / Philippians 3:7-8
The Cost of Following Christ - Matthew 8: 18-22
Day 12 - The scene as we read these verses in Matthew 8 is one of a very popular Christ. It's true he was also hated by many, but multitudes more loved him and were swept away by his winsome, kindly, personality.
Mark 2:2 / Mark 3:10 / Luke 8:19
Day 13- Perhaps these verses, stuck in the middle of a chapter on miracles, are there because it was no small miracle that a teacher of the law (or a scribe) would come and want to follow him. He gave Jesus the highest title of honor that he knew - "Teacher" or "Rabbi".
Day 14- Whenever there are large crowds and exciting things happening, such as all the healings that were taking place, there is a lot of emotion. Commitments made at the height of emotion are unstable ones and Jesus knew this about men. How did Jesus respond to the man's enthusiasm?
We can never accuse Jesus of just trying to get any followers that he could. A scribe in his band of disciples might have even proved useful to him in ministering to other scribes and pharisees. But in answering the man as he did, he was saying to him: "Think what you are doing. Before you follow me count the cost!"
Day 15- Following the scribe coming to Jesus was another man wanting to follow him after he had buried his father. This is an Eastern way of saying that he would be free to follow Christ after he had fulfilled all his commitments at home which meant putting off following Jesus for many years.
Procrastination is putting off until later what we should do now. It is Satan's tool for keeping us occupied with the second best. Once man has chosen a good, responsible way to go, he'll forget the higher way because his time and resources will be spent on the low road. And so, the work of Christ on earth is thwarted by well intentioned procrastinators.
What causes us to procrastinate?
There are four causes mentioned in scripture:
Day 16- Procrastination cause #1: Worldly entanglements
Day 17- Procrastination cause #2: Family cares
Matthew 8:21 / Luke 9:61
Day 18- Procrastination cause #3: Unbelief
Day 19- Prcrastination cause #4: Personal convenience
Day 20- Jesus, knowing men's hearts knew in answering this eager man that if he didn't follow him NOW that he never would. This is the tragedy of so much of life. When we are moved to higher things the moment passes by with inaction and is replaced with high and holy intentions that never happen. Is it any wonder that Jesus answers this young man sharply and leaves a stunning rebuke for all procrastinators?
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