Session 3: Spiritual Disciplines
Connect Group Conference Gereja Mawar Sharon 2016 (CGC GMS 2016).
Theme: Igniting Dynamic Discipleship Culture
Friday, 16 September 2016 (Day 1) and Saturday, 17 September 2016 (Day 2).
By: Ps. Joey Bonifacio (pastor at a local church in Fort Bonifacio, a movement of churches in Philppines).
Remember, there are 4 (four) walls of the sin, or evil circle, which can make us get trapped in sinful life over and over again: guilty, self-righteousness. un-righteousness, and shame.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. (John 10:10-11).
Key to understand verses above is, Jesus order for our lives is to live in this way: super aboundant (quantity), superior (quality), beyond excessive, advantage life, etc. But why do we not see this way in our lives? Because thief (satan, evil) come to steal them in our life.
Many Christians do not live in superior quality because we do not understand that satan come to steal valuable things in our life. We need a discipline life to be near with God.
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, (Matthew 6:19)
From verse above, do not gather earthly things because they can be broken.
Satan mission statement: to steal, to kill, and to destroy. But note, that satan cannot destroy us, satan just can deceive us to be stolen, killed, and destroyed.
but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:20-21)
Form verses above, it is important to know where we store valuable things, where our heart is the key, whether it can be stolen or not. So, where will we store? It is in our own heart, because Kingdom of Heaven is in our heart.
The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23 but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! (Matthew 6:22-23)
From verses above, our eyes are the light of life. Consume the right values, and the right values will be stored in our heart. If we do the opposite things, we FAILED to get superior quality.
No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. (Matthew 6:24)
From verse above, we cannot have 2 (two) masters in our life. As Christians, put Jesus as our only Master. Seek our heart, whether Jesus is the only Master or not.
So, how to defeat the thief (satan)? Seek our sight, because our eyes can control our heart.
Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? (Matthew 6:26)
We are valuable in God’s eye, Jesus is given to us because we are valuable. We are great, because our God is the greatest of all.
“Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear? For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:31-33)
From verses above, do not call ourselves Christians if we are similar with other people in this world. If we pray, show our heart to God only. Seek God first, then all (other priority) things will be added after.
Read Genesis 3:1-24, then understand how satan works and attacks with following explanations below.
- We ask and hesitate God words and works in our life, satan make temptation.
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’? (Genenis 3:1)
- We feel to be like, look good, true, but it is not true at all.
For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. (Genesis 3:5)
Satan make deception, we will feel more than we should, then we will see wrong things (sins).
- We feel guilty.
At the time we made sin, we feel mistaken, and do not want to be back and repent to God. We are under evil or satan circle. Apostle Peter said that satan is like a lion.
Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. (Genesis 3:7)
- We blame each other.
The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate. (Genesis 3:12).
Solution for temptation: pray! Watch and pray thus we do not get into temptation.
Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. (Matthew 26:41)
Without God, we cannot do anything, when we pray, we will come into a unlimited life.
Pray (first door), be joyful (second), be thankful (third), stand in a perfect way of God (fourth).
Get motivated from Jesus, for unlimited or limitless life, in simple way:
– Read Bible
– Share Good News
Transformation begins from spirit, not our flesh. Maybe, things from God cannot completely reach our life because of the weakness of our flesh. Flesh can weaken our spirit.
Remember: thought/idea vs habit, similar with spirit vs flesh.
What devil/satan want to do is to create habit in us, which is bad habit, sinful life.
As the same as, God also want to create habit in is, which is good habit, fruitful life.
There are a lot of demos, demons cannot multiply their own, thus they deceive, accuse, and create (bad) habit in us (evil things). Habit is totally different, be careful. Habit is forever, unless you change it!
How to fight satan works? Look words below:
– Temptation vs Prayer (come and talk to God)
– Deception vs Words (God’s words, bible verses)
– Accusation vs Gospels (Good News, God’s forgiveness)
– Condemnation vs Churches (relation between each Christians, strengthen each other, remind each other, love each other)
Our life’s journey with God, can be described, as follows:
– Discovery: find God;
– Desire: intent to make relation with God;
– Decision: a commitment to have a deep relationship with God;
— big gap here, before we take step to the next level, be careful, be consistant, be discipline —
– Delightful: rejoice in a life with God;
– Devotion: determination to live fully in God’s way;
– Destiny: living in God’s way until the end of life.
Note about big gap above:
We need to be discipline. We can find how important it is in our life as Christians, as written in Hebrews 12:5-11 below.
And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him.
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.
It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
– Hebrews 12:5. Do not dishonor God’s words.
– Hebrews 12:6. God will discipline those whom He loves, He loves us so much.
– Hebrews 12:7. Never give up and endure! He is treating us as beloved son, thus we become stronger day by day.
– Hebrews 12:8. Do not be easily children, because to the next level, we need strength. Just move forward and put our eyes on Jesus only. Be discipline!
– Hebrews 12:9. We must obey Father of all father, the points is: God walks with us.
– Hebrews 12:11. Discipline seems painful, but our life will be more fruitful.
Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (Romans 5:3-5)