To live a transformed life in Christ means to change. Jesus does not call us into relationship with Him to just remain watching on the sideline as we continue living in the same way we always have. To become a disciple of Jesus, we are called to bring Him onto the playing field, accept Him as our referee, coach, and star player, and allow Him to lead us to victory. But like sports, growing closer to God requires discipline, time, and effort; someone does not just become a professional athlete (or even a collegiate athlete) simply because they wish it to be so--they have to put in many hours, and a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. What makes us think following the God of all creation would be any different?
If this is already sounding like too much to handle for you, then I’m sorry to say, but you WILL NOT be able to maintain a life-long, powerful, and world-changing relationship with God, if you do not understand the discipline He wants from you. But take heart; Jesus has already provided all of the answers for us. It is only through the power and love of Jesus Christ that we can walk the path He calls us on, and it is through the Holy Spirit that we understand His discipline.
Before continuing to the rest of the blog, if you do not fully follow Jesus Christ or believe in Him (which, in your heart, only you and God truly know), then I challenge you to take a few moments--maybe five to ten minutes--to pray this prayer, and/or seek Him honestly on your own:
“Dear Lord, please open my eyes so that I may see you. Let your presence be known to me, and enter into my life. I come before you, Jesus, as a sinner, but by your blood I am made free. Raise up faith within me, and help me get to know you more. I set before you my doubts, my worries, my pain, my questions, my desires and wants; and ask for only You in return. Forgive me, God. Make me new. I pray this, Lord, because I want to grow in relationship with You and walk with You. Show me the goodness of Your love. In Jesus Christ’s name, Amen.”
1) God's discipline brings us closer to Him through the difficulties we face, not around them