Discipleship - the Doorway to Understanding the Kingdom of God
For decades I struggled with a fruitless grasp of the principles of the kingdom of God. Every time I would come across a scripture that seemed to be impossible to apply literally I would then intellectually grapple with how I could apply it so that I could still be faithful to scripture. In my sincere desire to be faithful to what the scripture taught I entered the arena of "theological thinking". I believed that God honored my desire for the truth and that eventually I would come to a proper understanding and application for those things that conflicted with the realities of the day.
For those areas where I was still confused or unsure I took divine liberty to excuse myself from being held accountable for the truth I couldn't grasp. How arrogant I had become, and it was in this deep pit of spiritual pride that I angrily blamed God for the lack of spiritual fruit in my life. I accused God of being allusive and that he did not honor those who truly searched. It was at this point that God graciously lead me to becoming a disciple in the same way the original disciples were called and taught.
The way to spiritual truth is narrow for us, just as it was for the original twelve, so we will now look at what Jesus said about discipleship.
If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and not his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14: 26-27, 33)
Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. (Matthew 11:28-29)
And behold, one came and saith unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? Jesus said unto him if thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven and come and follow me. (Matthew 19:16, 21)
And he spake a parable unto them, can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch? The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master. (Luke 6:39-40)
Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed. (John 8:31)
Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. (Acts 14:22)
What we have just seen is the basis for learning of the spiritual kingdom of God. It is an extremely difficult principle to accept, yet it is paramount to having a fruitful christian life. As we know the fruit is something that is not readily evident, because we first must be established in the vine. Are you desiring to see the bountiful fruit of the life of Christ within you? Are you like the rich young ruler that went away sorrowful after he heard this profound truth from the son of God?
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth the field. (Matthew 13:44)
Brothers and sisters in the Lord, do you really think Jesus didn't mean what he said, or that it was only for those during his earthly ministry. If it was only during his earthly ministry that his disciples were called to obey this then we actually believe there are two kingdoms, an earthly kingdom of Jesus verses the heavenly kingdom of God. Does he not currently sit at the right hand of the Father ruling and reigning at this very moment? If this is true than His commands are just as much for us today as they were for the original disciples.
Once we grasp, and practice, the literalness of this teaching, we open the door to His spiritual truth He so longs to teach us. Do we really want His truth or do we just want to look at His kingdom from afar?
Christ, understanding the distractions of the world and our flesh, has graciously established the way for us to become His disciple. He knows that a simple life with as little attachment to the world is the path for those serious about being in his kingdom, for all that we forfeit in this world is bountifully rewarded to us in becoming Christ like. So do we really want to be like Him? The first step is to do as he has instructed us.
I assure you, this was very difficult for us to do at first but we have found that the more we loose in this world the easier it is to follow His commands, and of course this is what being a doer of the word is.
Have you discovered a great treasure in a restored relationship with Christ? Are you willing to follow through with abandoning all your earthly cares to be His disciple? This is a hard truth that produces eternal fruit that is incomprehensible, yet this really is the basis for bearing our cross. May all of those that understand and practice this truth pray for each other as we daily choose to obey His commandments.
Your Brother in Christ