By Pastor Lee Hemen
May 29, 2008
Give the people these instructions, too, so that no one may be open to blame. (1 Timothy 5:7)
We all hate to be told what to do. I believe that’s why so many dislike going to school because it is such a controlled environment. You have to be there at a certain time, follow a schedule, be graded on your work, hand in your work, sit in class, listen, study, take notes, read the textbook, take tests – you know – follow instructions!
When I was younger they tried to do school in “new” ways without walls, without grading students, and with the student picking their own grade. It failed miserably. Why? They found out that you cannot have instruction without structure and a controlled environment. In fact, this is exactly why so many public schools today are failing their students. No structure, discipline, and high expectations for the students. Every child is seen as “honored,” with nothing for students to strive for but to feel good about themselves. They have discovered that simply making someone feel good about themselves does not impart wisdom nor expectations in the life of the students.
Paul had it correct when he told Timothy, “Give the people these instructions, too…” He knew that just loving one another wasn’t worth a hill of beans unless you were willing to learn how to love one another. Love, for the believer, is not a feeling. It is being active in your faith. It is the outcome of loving God wholeheartedly and loving others as yourself. It produces a life that is worthy of being called a “Christian.” Paul said it in practical terms: “So that no one may be open to blame.” So much of what is done in today’s modern church is certainly “open to blame.” Like a deranged public school system that has no concern for its students, many churches are churning out good consumers, but lousy believers. They hate instruction. They dislike theology. They chafe at being told what it means to live your faith. So, you have churches that light a lot of candles, do a lot of spiritual things, and make sure there is the latest self-help group, but do little to make sure they are discipling new believers. In fact, few would know if you are a believer because anyone can “come on in!” And can hide or leave at anytime and not be bothered with instruction.
The word for disciple implies discipline of self into the mold of the Lord Jesus. The disciple is to follow the instruction of their teacher, thus becoming like the teacher in every aspect, and to go beyond the teacher if possible. So today, little student of the Lord, go beyond what you have learned so far and become a good disciple of Jesus. Spend time in instruction and go and learn what it truly means to be a Christian disciple. Open the textbook, the Bible, and study it and apply it to your life until you begin to sound, walk, and be like your Master Jesus.
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