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The Good Servant- Part 2

Here’s what Scott McConnell, who just celebrated ten years of leading LifeWay Research, has learned about discipleship from a research vantage point: 

  1. Discipleship is intentional.

 Those who are maturing desire to mature. They engage in discipleship opportunities and seek Christ in their daily lives. 

  1. Reading the Bible matters more than anything else.

 Reading the Bible is the number one predictor for spiritual growth. Quite simply, those who read the Scripture grow. 

  1. The discipline of Bible engagement impacts every other discipline.

 Some spiritual disciplines do not impact all the others. As an example, someone who serves may not be generous in giving. But engagement in the Word impacts every other discipline. Someone who lets the Word dwell in them simultaneously gives, serves, confesses sin, shares the gospel, etc. 

  1. Groups matter. A lot.

 Those who are in some type of group (Sunday School, small group, etc.) are much more likely to display markers of spiritual growth than those not in a group. 

  1. There is a deep connection between discipleship and evangelism.

 Disciples share the gospel. Those who are growing in Christ tell others about Him. Those who are not growing in their faith are much less likely to articulate the gospel. 

As we think about disciplining ourselves for godliness in the coming year, these are points worth pondering. How will you discipline yourself in 2017?

The Good Servant

I read this past week that of the Americans who own a pair of running shoes, 87% don’t run. That isn’t surprising … it’s true of me! On the side of my shoes it reads, “NIKE RUNNING” but I’ve never ran in these shoes.
I also read that 58 million Americans have a gym membership. That isn’t surprising either … the parking lot of the gym close to my house is usually overflowing with cars. But of those who are members of a gym, 67% of those people never use their memberships! Now you know why memberships are so cheap … more than half the people paying for them never set foot in the door.
I suppose owning running shoes and not running, or being a member of a gym and never going, is akin to owning a bible and not reading it. Or knowing the good news of the gospel but not sharing it. Or being a member of CBC but not really being involved in the life of the church.
Owning running shoes doesn’t make me a runner and having a gym membership doesn’t mean I’m physically fit. I must put the shoes on and run before I gain the benefit of running. I must go to the gym and workout before I gain the advantage of having a membership.
In the same way I must exercise the discipline of reading my Bible in order to profit from it. Bible ownership alone only makes me look good to others, but it doesn’t aid in my spiritual growth.
And it doesn’t stop with bible reading. The same principle applies to other spiritual disciplines as well … prayer, fasting, solitude, Scripture meditation and memorization, journaling, etc.
When Paul told Timothy to discipline himself for the purpose of godliness, he was calling him to a life of setting priorities so he might develop and maintain a sound spiritual life. The Spirit calls us to the same.
In 2017 to what will you say “no” to say “yes” to being nourished by the Word of God? It will require discipline and training but the good news is the Spirit is on your side!

Footnote for December 11, 2016

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