Obedient To The End
Starting is easy, but finishing well is hard. The Great Commission started with Jesus commanding the apostles to make disciples wherever they went. That was their desire: after Pentecost they were so vibrant in their gospel witness that they could not stop talking about Jesus. As time went on and churches were formed, this last part of the Commission would be essential.
There is great joy in knowing the love of God and forgiveness through the blood of Christ; and many new believers are properly excited to know that they are children of the Living God. But the pressures of everyday life bring another new reality: that the believer still has sinful desires and sinful reactions. Indeed many new Christians are surprised by how easily they fail their Lord. Some of the lies of Satan seem even more attractive and the Holy Spirit increases our awareness of sin. So we need to be taught to live a new kind of life, one which pleases Jesus, and practise obeying what we are taught. Without a steady intake of Bible truth, believers become spiritually malnourished and at risk from every deception that comes along.
The other great danger to spiritual health is to assume that we have to do the 'Jesus life' by self-determination and discipline alone. That has some truth, but also error. Yes, we need to follow the apostles' teaching and learn to discipline ourselves to please the Lord; but we are not alone. Nor does the Lord Jesus want us to live His life without Him being intimately involved with us. He is alive and has promised never to leave us. The apostles who taught the churches needed to be assured of Christ's presence with them, as much as the believers. So do we.
The objective teaching of what will please God needs to go hand in hand with the subjective awareness that He is with us always. His presence is not restricted to the first time we encountered Him. His accompanying presence goes with us wherever we go because He is in us all the time. So if the world, flesh and devil are dragging you down, ask the Lord to lift you up. If His enemies tell you lies, let Him tell you truth. If you are a spiritual leader in your home, church or community – make sure you keep receiving teaching and learn to be obedient, as you walk with the Lord through every circumstance … and then you will be able to teach others well.
© Dr Paul Adams