Advanced Discipleship

He said to his disciples, “Hard trials and temptations are bound to come, but too bad for whoever brings them on! Better to wear a millstone necklace and take a swim in the deep blue sea than give even one of these dear little ones a hard time!

“Be alert. If you see your friend going wrong, correct him. If he responds, forgive him. Even if it’s personal against you and repeated seven times through the day, and seven times he says, ‘I’m sorry, I won’t do it again,’ forgive him.”      Luke 17:1-4 (The Message)

I am continuing to do some studying in Luke’s Gospel. Today I am again awed at how much Jesus puts into “just” four verses.

Trials and temptations will come. Being a disciple of Jesus does not come with a lifetime of ease happiness. It was common in the time of Job and Jesus for people to believe that any infirmity or trial that occurred in someone’s life meant that they had displeased God and He was giving them a mighty smite! Jesus told His disciples when they pointed to a blind child (John 9) that this had not occurred because of any sin of the parents or the child but so that God would be glorified. It is a struggle for me to see God’s glory when I am in the middle of such a season of my life or the life of someone I love. But Jesus tells me these times will come – His warnings come frequently throughout the gospels. His reassurance of His presence and compassion for my trials are also there. Just another reason for me to spend time rereading and reminding myself of His truths.

Do not be the vehicle for them! Jesus doesn’t spend time commiserating about the trials and temptations, they are just a fact of this life here in this world. But He does strongly warn me not to be a carrier of trials and temptations to others. I can see Him looking me straight in the eye, pointing His finger right at me and with a quiet but strong voice tell me it would be better for me to tie a huge stone around my neck and jump in the Gulf than to cause anyone to struggle against sin or misfortune because of something I said or did to them! Examples: It isn’t a sin for me to have a glass of wine with my dinner but encouraging my friend who struggles with alcohol to have a drink with me is Millstone Time! Sharing with others a story about someone else that is destructive and done in the name of a prayer request is also Millstone Time. If someone needs prayer for a problem, tell others you have a friend in need. God knows their name!

Correct and forgive. This is not an easy task as Jesus’ disciple. The success of this is in the state of my heart and the true leading of the Holy Spirit. When done in God’s timing and with all the gifts of His Spirit coming to the situation, it is a gloriously successful breakthrough. The correction is made with such love and purity of thought. The words are convicting and yet kind. They strike to the heart cleanly and, with forgiveness, pull the sinner into the arms of their Savior once again. It is not timidity that should hold us back from taking this step but wisdom. And when someone asks forgiveness from us, there are no limitations to the number of times to forgive. People do not wear out their forgiveness card. They ask – they receive. It does not give instant restoration of a relationship but does set it back on the path toward that goal.

God’s forgiveness. God’s forgiveness is immediate and complete because God knows my heart. He doesn’t wait to check my intentions or weigh my actions. He knows my heart. He knowsmy intentions.

And He teaches me to forgive others with the same freedom. Specifically, He warns me that it is not my job to judge others. He wants me to serve, love, and care for others. He will handle the judgment and determine the state of their hearts – and mine!

Oh Father, may I stay on your lessons for me today. May I have ears to hear and a heart and spirit to receive with understanding Your teaching. May I be an encourager and up-lifter of those who are weak. May I speak and touch others with kindness, patience, peace, love, joy, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness. In Jesus’ Name and for Your glory I pray …

This is My Desire by Rueben Morgan from Hillsong Worship Team


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