Monday, January 12, 2015

Becoming Like God...

I am beginning a new series based on the spiritual disciplines. This series will be based upon the book by Donald S Whitney, entitled Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life. In his book, Whitney provides scriptural evidence for a variety of disciplines designed to allow the Christian to grow in His relationship with God, and indeed, to become more like God. The title of this blog series, "Becoming Like God" is not to suggest that we, as humans can become God. Rather, as per God's original intent, we (humans) were originally created in God's image (Genesis 1.26-28), but because of sin we do not properly reveal that nature now. Thus, the disciplines described in this series will not make us God, or any kind of god, but can begin to transform us into who we were meant to be. As Romans 8.29 says, we are to be "conformed to the image of His Son,"  - the image we were originally meant to have.

This new series stemmed from a series I recently preached from the letter to the Ephesians. (At some point, I will get that series blogged, but it will be some time.) Ephesians 5.1 says that we are to imitators of God. Humans are incapable of doing that on our own, but because of the grace of God, we have the Holy Spirit available to us, and thus, those who believe, that is, are in Christ, can be empowered by God's Spirit to become like Him.

Whitney's focal verse for his book can be found in Paul's first letter to Timothy. 1 Timothy 4.7 says, "Rather train yourself for godliness" (ESV). The word translated as "train" in the ESV, is "discipline" in the NAS and "exercise" in the KJV. In other words, to be trained spiritually, requires discipline and exercise. In fact, Hebrews 12.14 says that we should strive for holiness (in addition to peace) or we will not see God. Thus, spiritual disciplines are not just disciplines, but are a set of disciplines, empowered by the very Spirit of God in order to mold us to become more like God. It is thus God who does the work, as we willingly and diligently partner with Him.

So, over the next several weeks, I will use Whitney's book as a guide to lead us through these eleven disciplines. As mentioned above, the title of this series is "Becoming Like God..." and each of the individual disciplines will be put into the context of how or what the disciplines will do to make us more like God. For instance, the next blog, will be " His Word" and will deal with the importance of the Bible ("Bible Intake" per Whitney). A title for this week's could be Becoming Like His Image.

Upcoming title and the discipline represented (in parenthesis) are as follows:

Becoming Like God... His Word (Bible Intake – 2 weeks) His Thoughts (Prayer)
in His Presence (Worship) His Mission (Evangelism) His Name (Serving) His Honor (Stewardship) His Care (Fasting)
...In His Serenity (Silence and Solitude) His Story (Journaling) His Wisdom (Learning) His Time (Perseverance)

I can make you very few promises, but if you will commit to implement these disciplines into your life (not all at once, but a little at a time over a period of months or years) with the proper attitude, your life will be changed for the better. Why? Because you will be more like God! Ultimately, that is not a promise I can make, but thankfully, one God has already made to us (Romans 8.28-30).

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