I’m sure many of you have played the game hide and seek. You all know the two outcomes of the game… stay hidden or be found. If you are as crafty as my son you will be tough to find. But someone who searches every nook and cranny will eventually find the one who is hiding, even the one who does not want to be found.
Jesus said in Luke 19:10, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” This is a key verse for the church. If that was Jesus’ goal it should be ours as well. Once people come to know Christ as their Savior the church’s job is not finished. According to Matthew 28:19 Jesus tells us, "to go make disciples." The word "Go," invokes action. If we are to properly respond to Jesus’ command to go make disciples, then we are to be seeking someone out. Not to just get them to church, but to teach them what a disciple is and what a disciple does.
A perfect example is found in 1 Kings 19:19-21 where Elijah went and found Elisha. Elijah sought out Elisha because God told him to. God spoke and Elijah responded. For years Elisha studied and followed Elijah until it was his time for him to lead. In the same way God will put someone on your heart that He wants you to seek out and disciple. The question is… are you willing to seek that person out, or let them stay hidden?
Around this time last year we shared with the congregation the twelve characteristics/habits of disciples. We recognize that there could be more added, and that there is overlap, however these were the twelve that the elders came up with that we believe are “non-negotiable.” That is, healthy disciples are marked by these characteristics. These characteristics are going to become the focus point of our blog articles.
This week I want to take a few moments and explore the reality that Disciples Pursue. The question then becomes, pursue what?
We believe that Scripture makes it clear that those who follow Christ (Disciples) are called to pursue holiness. It was the call for the Israelites in the Old Testament. The pursuit of holiness is what undergirds all that is written in Leviticus, you can see the call specifically in Leviticus 11:44-45. It has been said that Exodus is about getting the Israelites out of Egypt and Leviticus is about getting Egypt out of the Israelites.
Much like the Israelites struggled to leave Egypt in their past, we find ourselves struggling to leave our spiritual darkness in our past. At least I know I do. The Apostle Paul relates to this as well, writing, “For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.” (Romans 7:18-19, ESV).
I don’t know about you but I am both frustrated and encouraged by these words of Paul. Frustrated, because it acknowledges the reality that this is a struggle that will not be over this side of eternity. Encouraged, because I know that I am not alone in this struggle, and even the author of a large majority of the New Testament fought the same thing.
In his work The Pursuit of Holiness, Jerry Bridges writes, “In all of our thoughts, all of our actions, in every part of our character, the ruling principle that motivates and guides us should be the desire to follow Christ in doing the will of the Father. This is the high road we must follow in the pursuit of holiness.” (pg 47).
This is my prayer for us, that we would follow Christ in doing the will of the Father in every arena of our lives.
Blog posts from the Sterling staff, and maybe even the occasional guest blogger.