April 4, 2016

Distractions to Discipleship

Written by Boyd Bailey

Distractions to Discipleship 4.4

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – April 4, 2016

The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. Luke 8:14

Everyday life is full of opportunities to do God’s will and distractions to miss God’s will. Worry is distracted by issues out of its control—like an unprecedented presidential election year, fear of a global financial meltdown driven by government debt or lackadaisical Christians who are more concerned over their comfort than obeying Christ’s commands. Any distraction that keeps me from maturing in my faith walk with Jesus needs to be dismissed. I am learning that growth in my discipleship is the result of staying focused on engrafting God’s word into my soul.

Jesus paints a familiar canvas to residents of a mostly agrarian community. Uncultivated soil is not ready to grow crops. The few seeds that do germinate and develop into tender plants are soon choked by suffocating thorns. Such is an unbroken heart that hears truth, but the word of life is slowly tortured by fear and distrust, so truth is choked by life’s worries. The prickly thorns of worry have to be carefully cut out by the shears of belief in Christ to bear fruit from an abiding life. When Jesus abides in a life and that life abides in Jesus—a mature disciple is on display!

“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples” (John 15:7-8).

One way to deal with distractions to discipleship is to anticipate them with proper planning. For example, use your calendar to schedule plenty of time to invest in the right relationships, rather than the calendar becoming a prison warden that locks you out of every opportunity. Mentor faithful, available and teachable people who know and apply the truth to their life. Life is precious, so don’t squander God’s valuable time on those who want to remain trapped by the thorns of worry. Seek out disciples of Jesus who give their full attention to trusting and obeying God.

Above all, invite the Holy Spirit to grow your heart of love and mature your walk with Christ. There is a cost to discipleship. The cost of Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection. The cost of bearing your cross for Christ. The gospel offends—it comes with a cost, but some will surrender to the Spirit’s conviction. A life must first be converted to Christ, before it can become a mature disciple of Christ. Authentic discipleship is attractive in its disciplines of prayer, study, teaching, worship, evangelism and making disciples. Trust in Jesus uproots worry’s asphyxiating thorns!

“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength” (Isaiah 30:15).

 

Prayer

Heavenly Father, I exchange my thorny worries for trust in Your faithful word.

Application

Who is a faithful disciple of Jesus, that I can invest my time and energy into?

Related Reading

Psalm 21:7; Proverbs 3:5-6; John 8:31; 2 John 9; 1 Timothy 6:9-17

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A life must first be converted to Christ, before it can become a mature disciple of Christ. #WisdomHunters #discipleshipdistractions

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Comments

  1. Kristen M. says:

    If we “seek out disciples of Jesus who give their full attention to trusting and obeying God” – then we are just Christians hanging out with others like us. Being a disciple means reaching out to those who are in need of Jesus’ love.

    That means we are not “squandering God’s valuable time on those who want to remain trapped by the thorns of worry” but rather doing what we, as disciples, are supposed to do: Leading others in this position to God’s merciful love.

    So, I disagree with this commentary.

    1. Gwynne says:

      Dear Kristen,
      Thank you so much for reaching out to us with your thought provoking comments after reading “Distractions to Discipleship. You are so right when you stated “but rather we, as disciples, are supposed to do: Leading others in this position to God’s merciful love.”

      “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
      Matt 28:18-20

      We appreciate you letting us know your thoughts because there may also be others that read Boyd’s words and thought the same thing. So, thank you for the opportunity to clarify the focus of the devotional!
      While I cannot speak for Boyd, I can say that “Distractions to Discipleship” was telling us as we go out to lead others to God, as we are called to do, we are to be prepared and aware of “distractions” that are out there that could prevent us in reaching others. We are in no way to “pick and choose” but to be aware, praying first for discernment and guidance and looking out for “worry’s asphyxiating thorns”.
      Boyd states in the devotional “Authentic discipleship is attractive in its disciples of prayer, study, teaching, worship, evangelism and making disciples”.
      My thoughts are that he is wholeheartedly encouraging us to do as the Lord says in disciplining, mentoring and witnessing but be aware of “distractions” not only to us but to those that we are meeting with.
      Please know, Kristen, how grateful we are to you for bringing this to our attention so we can clarify the focus of the devotional for you and others that may share your concerns. We love hearing from our Wisdom Hunter’s family when there are concerns on their hearts about the devotionals. You spoke “truth in love” and we thank you for that!
      If you get a moment, there are some of Boyd’s past devotionals that focus on discipleship, mentoring and witnessing that I would love to share.
      If you get a chance, check these and more out on our website http://www.wisdomhunters.com

      “Made to Bear Fruit” March 10, 2016
      “Faithful Witness” By Tripp Prince August 20, 2015
      “Built to Last” January 23, 2016
      and “Wise Guides” March 21, 2012

      Let me know if you need any assistance finding them on our website.
      May God Bless you, Kristen.
      A sister in Christ,
      Gwynne
      “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction.”
      2 Timothy 4:2


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