The “Brave New World” of the 21st Century requires a “Brave New Discipleship” strategy.

The 1st Mark of a Complete Christian: Worships God Individually

Posted on: June 30, 2015

BND Mark #1

THE FIRST MARK OF A COMPLETE CHRISTIAN IS THAT HE WORSHIPS GOD INDIVIDUALLY

A rich Christian experience requires a vital inner life. Therefore, a complete Christian must spend adequate time cultivating

  • his relationship with the Lord,
  • his knowledge of the Scripture, and
  • his familiarity with biblical attitudes, values and behavior.

As an analogy, prisoners of war who are most successful at surviving the horrors of imprisonment are those who are most successful at vividly creating an imaginary inner world to which they go to occupy their minds and protect their emotions.

Some prisoners have mentally designed buildings, others have worked out complicated math formulas, or mentally played golf, or composed music. By occupying their minds with their inner world, prisoners are able to withstand the mental and emotional suffering that comes from the propaganda, the torture, the isolation, and the deprivation.

Christians have a similar challenge. The physical world in which Christians live is so hostile, so foreign, so disruptive to a vital Christian life that we must retreat to a vivid inner world, drawing on the reality of the inner world to be able to live well in the outer world.

Almost like prisoners of war, we must spend large amounts of time blocking out the physical world and magnifying the spiritual world, cultivating our relationship with the Lord, increasing our grasp of biblical truth and values, and nurturing an eternal perspective, so that when we live in the physical world, we will think and act according to heaven’s truth and values and not earth’s.

Jesus is our great example for this principle. He worked hard at nurturing his inner life. In Luke 5:16 we read that Jesus “would often slip away to the wilderness to pray.” He sometimes prayed all night (Luke 6:12) and would retreat to solitude during times of great trial (John 6:15). If Jesus worked that hard at nurturing His inner life, how much more must we work at it?

Scripture says that the Lord seeks those who will “worship Him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23). So, as we worship Him, it has the immediate benefit of entering into fellowship with the Lord and fulfilling His desire for us, and our need for Him. Beyond that, it changes us from the inside out, as we are faithful to the discipline.

It is not simple or easy. For many it is a significant difficulty. But our challenge is to spend enough time cultivating our inner world through individual worship so that our relationship with Him remains vital, and so that we will be able to offset the influence of the outer world.

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I go into The 7 Marks of a Complete Christian in greater depth in my latest book, Brave New Discipleship.

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