Jun

18

2012

Tullian Tchividjian|9:55 am CT

Discipleship Depends on God

The central reality for Christians is the personal, unalterable, persevering commitment that God makes to us. Perseverance is not the result of our determination, it is the result of God’s faithfulness. We survive in the way of faith not because we have extraordinary stamina but because God is righteous. Christian discipleship is a process of paying more and more attention to God’s righteousness and less and less attention to our own; finding the meaning of our lives not by probing our moods and motives and morals but by believing in God’s will and purposes; making a map of the faithfulness of God, not charting the rise and fall of our enthusiasm.

- Eugene Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, 128-129

17 Comments

  1. Susanne Schuberth (Germany)

    Amen to that. And I must tell you that I love the lyrics too. :)

  2. Discipleship>>>God’s On-going Work! Amen, Tullian. He’s fashioning us into the image of the Only True Idol…Jesus Christ, crucified and risen.

  3. Having begun in the Spirit do we now try to go forward in the flesh? I know my default is to lean on flesh rather than the Spirit. I am constantly fighting the entanglements of my bent toward “do this, do this, do this.”

    http://onceforalldelivered.blogspot.com/

  4. A Saved Saint

    Ugh. Here we go again…..Now quoting Eugene Peterson. Really?

    Well, all I can think of is that YES YES and YES! We walk by faith not by sight. BUT……(I know Mr T and Keller and all of them hate that word, BUT….) this still sounds SO hocus-pocus and magical. Like I am just sitting on my couch reading the Word and meditating on the excellencies of Christ and SHAZAM I am suddenly delivered from my sinful tendencies for the day? This is not my experience. My experience is that I have the great QT in the Spirit and then my kids walk in ornery and I lose it. Ugh. Yes! Christ still loves me. YES! the Father is still pleased with me b/c of the work of Christ applied to me. BUT, I was still wrong to bite my kid’s head off. Back to Christ, “I’m sorry. Help!” Back to my kid, “I’m sorry! Please forgive me. Pray for your parents!” Crying out to God to crucify the flesh daily. PERSEVERE means to PERSEVERE, doesn’t it? Not give up? Keep on going? (in God’s strength of course) But it surely does NOT mean to sit on my couch with my Bible on my lap and magically/sublminally I am transformed. I am transformed by the renewing of my mind. I do that. Renew my mind. Right?

    I don’t know? Again, am I missing something? Are we all saying the same thing? Even Eugene Peterson? :)

    Thanks!

  5. Amen!! Perserverance equals Christ-our-Righteousness indwelling his Body . . . being pleased to make the unworthy stables of our hearts into the glorious Temple of his presence.

  6. Todd, I’m a bit confused by your comment. I guess I just don’t see “doing” things as antithetical to continuing in the Spirit. Isn’t there a place for doing things by the Spirit in the Christian life? Perhaps you mean that you are constantly fighting against the entanglements of your bent towards, “do this on your own, do this to merit your righteousness, do this to earn your place before God” ?

    God bless.

  7. Susanne Schuberth (Germany)

    Yes, the right “doing” (obeying Him) happens when we really have forgotten who we think we are (sinners, saints, winners, losers, or whatever), when we learn to trust in Jesus alone and to move past our own understanding, when we behold Him (He is and should be our first love) – then the miracle happens: self-forgetfulness (remembering this excellent article of you, Tullian) is a beautiful state of mind, our whole being is at peace, our heart satisfied, and there is no need to worry about anything we ought to do; we’ll do the right things at the right time in a totally relaxed manner. Our Lord is a wonderful God – let’s embrace Him, He is the Truth!

  8. A Saved Saint

    Susanne said: “we’ll do the right things at the right time in a totally relaxed manner.” Ok. So….I am sitting on the couch and……paint the picture for me. With a real life situation. Thanks!

  9. The sentiments I agree with (dependence on the Lord, but the dichotomy (‘Perseverance is not the result of our determination, it is the result of God’s faithfulness’) I don’t. Btter to say,

    ‘Perseverance is the result of God willing and working within us determination or discipleship’.

    Without determined discipleship there is no salvation.

  10. Susanne Schuberth (Germany)

    When comfort seems unreachable, God’s arm is never too short. He also cares about our problems while ‘sitting on the couch’, and being confronted ‘with a real life situation’. Though peace is (part of the) fruit of the Spirit coming out of walking by the very same (Gal 5:16,25), or in other words, is resulting from praying without ceasing (1 Thess 5:17), God sometimes bestows His Spiritual gifts unexpectedly on us.
    Don’t give up, you are loved by Him!

  11. “Don’t give up, you are loved by Him!”

    Amen, Susanne!

  12. Susanne Schuberth (Germany)

    I believe that He will always be there for us, although when we can’t feel Jesus’ love – I guess it’s only sleeping. And whatever we will have to face today…He will carry us ‘through it all’ (faith is key).

  13. This is a great mystery: God is sovereign, He is our source, and we depend upon Him for everything; yet the Bible nevertheless depicts the church as a group of people who are to pursue Christ (Phil. 3:7-16), pursue and exercise themselves unto righteousness, holiness, faith, peace, love, godliness (Heb. 12:14; 1 Tim. 6:11, 4:7; 2 Tim. 2:22), “add all diligence” to supply to their faith virtue, knowledge, self-control, endurance, godliness, brotherly love and love (2 Pet. 1:3-11), work out their own salvation (Phil. 2:12-13), etc.

    What’s going on here? Are the two antithetical or contradictory? Do we have to pick between one or the other? Is the message of the gospel that we should never take heed of the latter but only of the former, because this would be to mix the law with grace and thus distract from grace?

    Well, I think that the apostle Paul’s understanding of grace included the view that the more His eyes were on Christ, the more he was filled up with the grace of Christ to do all things in Him. The former energizes the latter. “I am able to do all things in Him who empowers me” (Phil. 4:18). “But by the grace of God I am what I am; and His grace unto me did not turn out to be in vain, but, on the contrary, I labored more abundantly than all of them, yet not I but the grace of God which is with me” (1 Cor. 15:10). “But holding to truth in love, we may grow up into Him in all things, who is the Head, Christ” (Eph. 4:15).

    In short, when our eyes are upon Him, commandments, obedience and necessities seem less like killing legalities and unbearable burdens, and more like opportunities to do all things in Christ and with Christ, that is, to have a growing relationship with Him not only on Sundays but in our daily living, to have the grafted life that the Lord Jesus spoke about in John 15.

  14. Thank you so much for this Brandon E…..
    “Author: Brandon E
    Comment:
    This is a great mystery: God is sovereign, He is our source, and we depend upon Him for everything; yet the Bible nevertheless depicts the church as a group of people who are to pursue Christ (Phil. 3:7-16), pursue and exercise themselves unto righteousness, holiness, faith, peace, love, godliness (Heb. 12:14; 1 Tim. 6:11, 4:7; 2 Tim. 2:22), “add all diligence” to supply to their faith virtue, knowledge, self-control, endurance, godliness, brotherly love and love (2 Pet. 1:3-11), work out their own salvation (Phil. 2:12-13), etc.

    What’s going on here? Are the two antithetical or contradictory? Do we have to pick between one or the other? Is the message of the gospel that we should never take heed of the latter but only of the former, because this would be to mix the law with grace and thus distract from grace?

    Well, I think that the apostle Paul’s understanding of grace included the view that the more His eyes were on Christ, the more he was filled up with the grace of Christ to do all things in Him. The former energizes the latter. “I am able to do all things in Him who empowers me” (Phil. 4:18). “But by the grace of God I am what I am; and His grace unto me did not turn out to be in vain, but, on the contrary, I labored more abundantly than all of them, yet not I but the grace of God which is with me” (1 Cor. 15:10). “But holding to truth in love, we may grow up into Him in all things, who is the Head, Christ” (Eph. 4:15).

    In short, when our eyes are upon Him, commandments, obedience and necessities seem less like killing legalities and unbearable burdens, and more like opportunities to do all things in Christ and with Christ, that is, to have a growing relationship with Him not only on Sundays but in our daily living, to have the grafted life that the Lord Jesus spoke about in John 15.”

    Beautiful. AND glorifying to the Lord. Have YOU written a book or blog? Blessings…….

  15. ‘In short, when our eyes are upon Him, commandments, obedience and necessities seem less like killing legalities and unbearable burdens, and more like opportunities to do all things in Christ and with Christ, that is, to have a growing relationship with Him not only on Sundays but in our daily living, to have the grafted life that the Lord Jesus spoke about in John 15.’

    Very helpfully put Brandon.

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