Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Creating Spiritually Mature Disciples

"Today the evangelical church has a tendency to limit grace to a single transaction – Christ’s priceless payment for our sins with His blood so that we may be saved. As a group, we spend much of our energy cooperating with this first work of grace, focusing on evangelism, missions, and getting initial conversions. Beyond that, we spend tremendous energy to educate believers in their knowledge of the Bible. Once they are “saved”, we want people to be acquainted with God’s Word, indeed an important part in spiritual growth.But when it comes to encountering God Himself, we are, frankly, a bit vague. And when it comes to such aspects of spirituality as holiness, intimacy with God, and godly character, we can leave new believers very confused….We sometimes tell new believers that they received all the “potential” to grow in spiritual character, or Christlikeness, at conversion. But do we tell them how to turn that potential loose in their lives?Underneath it all, we seem to assume that spiritual growth will automatically result from knowing more about the Scriptures. But in fact, we encounter attitudes and resistance to God within ourselves, along with difficult, discouraging, or tempting circumstances outside ourselves, which seem to say there is no real power in the Christian life….…many admit they are missing a sense of spiritual reality – in terms of heart engagement, intimacy, and warmth – in their relationship with God….”Where is the presence and working of God in my life and in my church? Where is the personal satisfaction that ought to accompany knowing the God of the universe?”….Many of us know our Bibles, and our theology is sound. But when we’re honest, joy, peace, and power seem to be missing. We hunger for a sense of God’s presence and long for a connectedness with Him that will make us come alive at the core of our being….it is entirely possible for a Christian to lose touch with God, while believing correct doctrine….For many of us, the problem stems from the fact that we have forfeited God in the busyness of life’s activities – even church work….Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us be honest among ourselves: We freely speak about God, but so often the reality of God’s transforming presence and power is absent. As conservative Christians, we have done a superior job defending doctrine and evangelizing the unsaved. Have we done as good a job of building spiritually mature disciples?"

Dr. Bruce Demarest
Satisfy Your Soul
Navpress, 1999
pgs. 22, 23, 48, 49


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