If Jesus did biblical spiritual disciplines, why not you or me?
You are saved by grace but you are commanded to renew and keep renewed your mind so that you continually walk in the will of God just like Jesus did.
Rom 12:1-2 “I therefore beg of you, please, brethren, through the instrumentality of the aforementioned mercies of God, by a once-for-all presentation to place your bodies at the disposal of God, a sacrifice, a living one, a holy one, well-pleasing, your rational, sacred service, [rational, in that this service is performed by the exercise of the mind]. And stop assuming an outward expression that does not come from within you [by Holy Spirit] and is not representative of what you are in your inner being [in the new man in Christ] but is patterned after this age; but change your outward expression to one that comes from within and is representative of your inner being [by Holy Spirit who only does the perfect will of God and is working continually to get you to will and to do the good pleasure of the Lord], by the renewing of your mind, resulting in your putting to the test what is the will of God, the good and well-pleasing and complete will, and having found that it meets specifications, place your approval upon it.” Wuest
If you are not intentionally keeping your mind renewed, converted, repented, adjusted, then know that others are doing it to you, and most of them are not from God.
James 1:21 “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and lambano/receive with meekness the engrafted word (Bible, and especially the New Testament revelation of Christ in you the hope of heaven to bring heaven to earth), which is able to sozo/save your souls. 22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.”
If you are not actively and aggressively holding onto the Word of God in your mind and heart 24×7, as this verse commands, then your soul will not be prepared for a happy Day of Judgement.
2 Cor 5:9 “Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. 11 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.”
We are to actively cooperate in the process, else you will not like the results on the Day of Judgment where all your works will be tried, good and bad.
1 Cor 3:11 “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13 every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. 14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be sozo/saved; yet so as by fire. 16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”
Notice on the Day of Judgment, you yourself, as a born-again one, will be sozo saved for all eternity with God (verse 15), but your evil works called wood, hay and stubble will not follow you (“suffer loss”). This is good and bad news. The works will not be there to plague you but you will not have the gold, silver and jewels they could have been.
Jesus talked about our works being judged as a main part of the gospel of the Kingdom of God.
Matt 16:27 “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.”
As a devout Jew, Jesus spent 4-6 hours a day in scripture, prayer and prayer meetings.
Jesus also obeyed:
Josh 1:8 “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”
In His ministry days Jesus continued this and it is estimated He also spent 1-4 nights a week in all night prayer. And when He had to make important decisions Jesus spent an additional 10-14 hours in prayer.
The Family Business: Now you can be pretty sure that Jesus did not start this spiritual disciplines life on His first day of ministry after His baptism by John the Baptist. You can rest assured that Jesus, as well as John the Baptist, was skilled in a life of spiritual disciplines before He began His public ministry. And He learned them at the feet of His adopted father, Joseph, and His mother, Mary. And so did the rest of their family.
So was Jesus a “self made man” or “a man who knew what it took?” Jesus did His job as a man, putting aside His deity so He could be our example in all respects.
It appears Paul, the great writer of the New Testament, did the same kind of lifestyle as Jesus did. Why? Because Jesus, Paul and most early New Testament Christians knew the biblical disciplines of a righteous life so they would have the foundation to manifest God in their lives rightly.
So why not you or me? Oh, I forgot, they did not have entertainment books, television, the Internet and corrupt theology.
They did not have a theology that such spiritual disciplines are only for the “specially called,” or the “religious,” or they just take too much time each day.
They did not have the theology like must of us do that says grace puts us to enjoy the comforts of the world rather than to work to bring the Kingdom of God to earth.
They did have this attitude against the world and they knew it took hard and consistent hours a day to bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.
1 John 2:15 “Agape/Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man agape/love the world, the agape/love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”
If you are not actively and intentionally loving God, you are loving something or someone else because that is the way we humans are. We work on our loves all day long. So if you are not actively and intentionally loving God, you are loving the world. And rightly loving God takes diligent effort 24×7.
Matt 6:24 “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and agape/love the other; or else he will hold to (lambano) the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve [worship] God and Mammon.”
And as proved by the religious leaders of Jesus’ day, simple time in the scriptures is not enough.
And this is part of the definition of “faith.”
Heb 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
Diligence means with glad excellence all the time even when it is not fun. And the end goal is not just memorization of Scriptures, as vital as that is, but rather meeting with God in spirit and in truth. You get the truth from the Scriptures, and God from time with and in Him.
All of us have 24 hours a day, and you are thinking, speaking and doing something every second of every day. So if you are not bringing every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, whose obedience are you following?
2 Cor 10:3 “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4 (for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 6 and having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.”
And if you are fussing and fuming over this message today in your deception concerning grace and works, consider this, Paul boasts that his success was based on him cooperating with the grace of God that put him to work, hard labor.
1 Cor 15:10 “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”
Paul wrote the message on grace, law and works, yet the gospel impelled him to work more than others. So if you get the message right, you will work even harder than Paul.
It is said that the apostle James died with knees like a camel because he spent so much time in prayer and on his knees before the scriptures. I guess he also missed your message on grace, law and works.
I know of not one powerhouse for God that did not spend hours a day in the Scriptures, and even more hours organizing and preparing their thoughts to match God’s, and who had no problem giving the same message again and again. In fact, they so learned that their power was in effectively conveying the same message again and again.
It was said of John Lake that he and his ministers spent so much time in prayer before his Bible asking God to give them wisdom and revelation, that people who touched his Bible got healed just like it was a prayer cloth. And you can know when you have put in sufficient time when your Bible becomes a prayer cloth for others.
In fact, if spiritual disciples offend you or are not your delight, then I suspect that you are ignorant of real value, that you have too much of the world in you, that you are filled with earthly cares and idolatries, that you are offended at God and people, and there is bitterness and hardness of heart in you.
Now you have some tools for diagnosis. No such condition is permanent because you are made to seek the Lord 24×7 with gladness and joy. That is the real, born-again you, and failure to do this may be the cause of some of the unease in your life. Get with God’s program to renew your soul in the present-live soteria salvation process God requires of you.
1 Peter 2:1 “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, 2 as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.”
James 1:21 “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to sozo/save your souls. 22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.”
Soteria/salvation is two-fold – in this life now and an even better on with God. In this life now this salvation process is to make our souls as much like Jesus’ as possible. Notice part of the continuing work of present life salvation includes constantly keeping in memory the Pauline revelation of Christ in you the hope of glory.
1 Cor 15:1-2 “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 by which also ye are sozo/saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. KJV
Or would you rather be one that fits this definition by God of wickedness?
Ps 10:4 “The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.”
And this is repeated again this way:
2 Tim 2:19 “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. 20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. 21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.”
Now departing from iniquity is included in departing from wickedness which means to keep your thoughts continually on the great work of God by Jesus through the cross and His glorification so God can reign through you as He does Jesus.
And notice who is to do this purging – each one of us, you and me. Or another way to say this is to continually seek the Lord in righteousness.
Col 3:1 “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2 Set your affection (desire, passion, all-consuming wants) on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For ye are dead, and your zoe/life is hid with Christ in God.”
Another way to say this is to be continually seeking the manifestation of zoe life you have in Jesus so that Jesus might manifest more in your life.
1 Tim 6:12 “Fight the good fight of faith, lambano/lay hold on eternal zoe/life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.”
If your version of the Christian faith does not have you continually fighting the fight of faith so that you do to others as Jesus would, then you are deceived, even self-deceived.
James 1:26 “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.”
Many argue over dead works for righteousness with God, and that is correct if you are not born again. Now for those born-again into the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, then realize that the righteousness of God impels you to do right just like Jesus would. And if you are resisting, then you are not doing the right works of God by Holy Spirit in you, and that makes your faith ineffective for God in you.
James 2:26 “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”
And the fruit of this lack of bridling your tongue, and therefore not bringing every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, is a hard heart. And the cure is to start obeying God like Jesus, Paul and others who have walked in the glory of God.
James 1:22 “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.”
Now you know why we stress biblical spiritual disciplines so much. You live 24×7, if you are not controlling your thought, word and action life, others are and most are not from God.
It takes massive effort every day to stand against the overt and often very subtle pulls, lusts and attractions of this world. To the average Jew of Jesus’ day, that meant 3-6 hours a day. To Jesus, Paul, James, etc. if meant much more each day as a godly lifestyle that continually sought the Lord almost every waking moment.
You are seeking something every waking moment whether your realize it or not. So this is not about doing something new but intentionally controlling what you do so you can get the results God promises to those who seek Him.
If these seem like dead religious practices, it is not the practice that is hard, but your heart either through ignorance or offense.
And yes, the program we provide in OK, GOD, Now What is designed to help you seek the Lord continually, renew your mind into the New Testament revelation of Christ in you the hope of glory, and accelerate your wisdom, understanding, prosperity and health in the Lord. And it works for those who do it.
God is no respecter of persons. Evil works inspired and powered by the devil are no match for the Living God, but they sure tempt fleshly leaky neurons, even in those spiritually righteous.
There are no wrong answers here, only seek more of Jesus who already paid for every failure we ever made, are now making, or will make. Since He was healed of it, so are you.
It will be shameful for you to show up on the Day of Judgment and see that every hardness of heart was already healed and waiting for you to do the right labour to get that hardness of heart healing already done in Jesus.
A Bible not devoured is like bags of seed stored away. The potential of God into the Earth is there, but never a harvest is made. Jesus is the Seed. The only soil that matters is your heart.
Keep Working the Word so God can Work!
God Bless You and Yours in the Name of Jesus to be more Noble in Him (Acts 17:11-12)
Jesus is Lord of Heaven and Earth!
Donald C. Mann
Speaker, teacher, navigator and author of:OK, God, Now What? (OkGodNowWhat.com) Discovering Our Redemption Battle Prayer for Divine Healing-Field Manual 2