John 6:45, Hebrews 12:10-11, Matthew 16:24
“As it is written in the Scriptures, ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me.” John 6:45
As a teenager, I worked through David Nasser’s “A Call to Die.” Today, this study still ranks as one of the most life-changing studies I have been through, which has triggered many other lessons through the years.
At the beginning of the study, Nasser asks the reader to choose something to fast from for the 40 day stint of the study. I decided to fast from sugar. As I continued with the study, I was doing great on my fast until I had a major craving for a Mountain Dew icee. While I tried to suppress the craving, I succumbed thinking, “It’s not that big of a deal to God if I have some sugar today.” I purchased the icee, sat in my car, and after drinking about half of the most awesome icee I had ever tasted, I gave it a rest in the center console drink holder.
A little while later and still in my car, I reached across the console with my cell phone in hand. That’s when I heard, “plop”. My cell phone slowly sank into a Mountain Dew ice bath. My phone was ruined (along with the rest of my icee), by my rebellious choice to cheat on my fast.
Although the story is humorous, and although there is nothing wrong with an icee every now and then, I learned a lesson that day that I will not soon forget. I was being taught by God that my sin resulted in discipline. I had made a commitment to Him and I broke it. Greater than the loss of my phone was the failure of my commitment to God. He graciously taught me through my own choices and, because of that, I came out knowing more about Him, and more about the consequences of my sin.
The Holy Spirit gently reminded me of Hebrews 12:10-11 which says, “For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.”
The main lesson I learned that day was that being a disciple of Christ means we will be disciplined by Him.
We often tie the word “disciple” to the 12 men that followed closely after Jesus during his earthly ministry. We know of the lessons they learned, the mistakes they made, and the legacy they left as they shared the same Gospel we know today. But they were disciples because they were students of Jesus - they followed him. Jesus made it very clear that a disciple is anyone who follows the example of Christ.
Matthew 16:24 says, “Then Jesus said to his disciples, "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”
Interestingly enough, Jesus didn’t refer to his followers as Christians but disciples. When the term disciple is used in Scripture, it refers to a student or apprentice. We also see the disciples calling Jesus “Rabbi,” which means teacher. Do you see they dynamic of this relationship between Jesus and his followers? If you have committed your life to follow Christ, you have committed to be a student of Jesus, the master Teacher.
As a result of the process of discipleship, I can have faith and confidence in the situations that I face. Because I know that I am a disciple of Christ, I know that He is teaching me in all things, and that each circumstance is a chance to know Him more and become more like Him.
J.C. Ryle said, “A single day in hell will be worse than a whole life spent carrying the cross.”
The discipline of Jesus is worth it.
So today, whatever situation, hardship, or exciting season flavors your day, take a second to submit to the Great Teacher and ask what He wants you to learn in this time.
He is not wasting your days, your heartache, or even your joys. You are being taught by God. The very Creator of the universe is personally teaching you to be just as He wants you to be. What a privilege to be a disciple of the living God.