DISCIPLES DEPEND ON GRACE
15 Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts.16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory,are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:15-18
As we close this week's lesson on how to live the essential life of a disciple, we have to really be able to focus on the fact that disciples depend on grace. We are never going to be perfect until we reach perfection in Christ. We are going to make mistakes. Please go back and read through all of the mistakes made by the disciples as they were following Jesus. They were far from perfect and needed grace every day to make it through their situations. However, it also did not mean that they stopped trying. As disciples we are going to fail. But I would rather fail trying than never try at all. God is calling us to step out into the world and to trust that He is standing by our side. We are going to make amazing steps for God and we are going to fail, but in our failures we can draw strength from the grace shown through Jesus Christ. May we all agree, right now, that we are going to be disciples that will step out on faith and depend on grace daily.
All week long we have been talking about the qualities and expectations of being a disciple. Remember, disciples are not meant to keep this message from God all to themselves. They are meant to go and pour out as much that is being poured in. We are called to be multipliers of the faith and that comes from not only being discipled, but turning around and becoming a discipler. I don't know if that is actually a word, but it should be in my opinion.
We are called to receive and to give. We are called to accept and pay it forward, and I can honestly not think of a better way to do that then to you help multiply disciples for the transformation of the world. And to be honest, the first step a disciple should take each and every day is to fall to our knees and ask for grace to direct our day. It allows us to turn over the authority of our days to the ONE who is meant to be in control. Grace is our guiding light and gives us the fortitude to step out and know that even in our mistakes, God, through the Holy Spirit, is able to rectify the message. If you just take a moment and look at the 12 that followed Jesus, many of them probably were not deserving to be called disciples because of their past or their tendencies in life. Peter was always questioning and reacting before thinking. Thomas continued to doubt. James and John wanted to have the seat at the right hand of Jesus, a power position and one of authority. Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus. Matthew was a tax collector. I mean I could go own, but it was the daily grace and teaching they received from Jesus that would eventually help them to realize how they were to serve and not be served. How they were to pray and teach. God's grace delivered them from the death they deserved and it continues to do the same for disciples today.
Paul talks about this in our Scripture verses for today. He speaks that as disciples, like Moses, there were days when veils covered our hearts. When we really could not see what God has called us to be or do. We were lost and living in the world and our hearts were unaware of the power of God's grace, mercy and love. However, when we come into the knowledge of the Lord, our hearts are unveiled and filled with the power of His grace. We become disciples and see TRUTH as it is meant to be seen. We are not called to go back and allow our hearts to be veiled, but we are being transformed into the image of God. We are a reflection of His glory. We are an example of His grace that others need to see played out in our lives. When we read Paul's words, we are reminded that it is only through grace that we are saved and through God's grace that we are disciples in the first place. Remember we are all disciples of something. We all dress and act and follow the way others expect us to dress and act. So we are all disciples of something. I just choose and desire to continue to be a disciple of God. For the grace that I receive, I want to return it 10 fold to others who may wrong me. For the mercy poured out on the cross, I hope and pray that I can find a way to sacrifice my time and my days to help lead others into God's grace. For those who have poured into me, I hope and pray that I can not only be a disciple but help others to go well beyond anything I could ever do for Jesus. Discipleship is a mentality and lifestyle and there is no off switch. There is Sabbath and rest, but once again we will tackle that next week. Once we choose to be a disciple of Jesus, technically that is our life long mission until we finally are called home.
So I am ending this week with a word of encouragement to us all. Please don't stop trying to grow in your faith as a disciple. I can tell you that there have been many days that I too have questioned my place with God, but I know that it is only through His grace that I make it through each day. God has called you to go and make disciples. God has entrusted to you the greatest message EVER spoken and the world is in desperate need of hearing that
message again. Each of the disciples lived out their last days giving all that they could for God. I know that may seem like a huge commitment and it is, but God is asking that you just start today and give a little more than you did yesterday. God is asking that we step out and begin to live boldly and have conversations that have eternity in mind. We are still going to falter and fail and that is why our stories are so important. We are called to perfection through Christ, but it doesn't mean that it is going to happen over night. The disciples took three years, listening and following Jesus every day and they still messed it up. But recognize that God used them to do mighty things in the name of Jesus. And that was only because of the grace given on the cross. Keep striving to be a better disciple. Pray a little more. Read more in God's Word. Begin asking more questions about what God is saying to you through His word, and recognize that there are others that God has put into your community whose hearts are veiled and need Jesus. Realize that God has placed you in their lives for a purpose and a reason. Love God, Love People, Make Disciples. These were the words from the greatest commandments and the Great Commission summarized in the simplest forms. This is our call as disciples each day as we live with the grace God has given us to share with the world.