Psalm 1 audio (3MB)
Introduce series/Ask people for what stood out to them...
Well today we come to the theme of Discipleship and the ‘Inner Life.’ What do we think that that means? Can anyone give me their thoughts on what the ‘Inner life’ could mean when we look at a topic like discipleship, keeping in mind the passages that were just read out to us?
Over the last few weeks we have looked at discipleship in
Walking with Jesus
Being Students of Christ,
being a People on a Mission, our responsibility of building the Kingdom
and now we come to the Inner life
On reflecting on prayer and the ‘inner life’ an unknown author wrote this quote
I think that this sums up what I want to talk about on the subject of the ‘Inner life.’ What is the ‘inner life?’
The Inner life is our character, all that stuff inside us that no one else can see, all that stuff inside us that is private and hidden. Discipleship - The Inner Life, when I hear that I think of whether or not our character is a disciple of Jesus.
And just as we’ve learned over the last few weeks our need to take action in becoming a disciple,
we need to take action in changing our character to become more and more like Jesus.
We see in Psalm 1, which, I think you’ll agree, is a very, ‘take no prisoners’ kind of passage, what God wants from his disciples.
If you still have your Bibles open, pleas read with me. (v1-2)
I see this passage as critical, but also a great challenge for those of us who want to be disciples of Jesus - ‘Love God’s teachings and think about them day and night.’
How many of us can claim that we do this? How many of us can read that verse without saying, ‘O-my-goodness! What the heck!? I can’t do that!’ Love God’s teachings and think about them day and night?
Some of us might be able to say, ‘Yes, I love God’s teachings.’ But how about thinking about them day and night?
How many of us even have the practice of daily devotions? How many of us here today have opened our Bible this past week, read and reflected on it, setting apart a portion of our day just to spend with God?
Let alone spending every waking moment thinking about God and what he has taught us?
But this idea is critical to disciple our inner life. If we want to change, if we want to be more like Jesus,
then we need to spend time with Him! We need to know what he was like, how he lived and what he taught us about how he wants us to live!!
It’s plain and simple, its foolishness to think that we can be a disciple of Jesus and live the way he wants you to and not spend time with him!
How much time are we spending with our God each week? How much time are we giving him?
In the midst of meetings and weekly agendas, in the midst of school work and friends
and reading books and watching movies...
Is God important enough to us?
It’s so hard for me! I constantly hear the Holy Spirit saying, ‘Garrett it’s time to talk to me.’
Not now Lord I’ve got work to do for Youth Group on Friday night.
‘Garrett, its time to read the Bible’
Not now, friends are coming over soon and I need to get ready.
‘Garrett, do you have 10 minutes for me today.’
Not today Lord, I really want to get through this book and then Im going out for the afternoon.’
No God, I’m too tired right now, I’ve been out all day, I’ve just come back from Youth Group or this or that, I need sleep now God, and I’m preaching tomorrow...’
We have so many things going on that we shut out the voice of God, and every time we choose something else over God, those things become bigger and bigger, growing in importance in our lives as God shrinks!
I wonder what the change would be like if we chose God over those things?
Would His importance in our lives Grow as the world shrinks behind us?
Would the test seem less important when we know that God is God?
Would those feelings of lust or anger or rejection...Would they seem less important if God was number 1 in our life?
I’d dare to think so, will you dare to as well?
Listen to me, listen to me! We need to spend time with God every day! And we will know the changes in our lives!
We will know that we are truly disciples of Jesus, inside where it matters, when we realize
that we not only love God’s teaching, but we are constantly thinking about them.
Being reminded by them as God grows larger in our inner life and the things of the world have shrunk
in importance beside Him!
We will know that we are disciples when we find ourselves giving up time to spend with God daily.
And we will begin to know the fruit of it by finding that instead of a reigning confusion about
what things are worthwhile. Instead of mounting frustration over things that make us angry, mounting anxiety, our minds clouded as we are pulled along.
We find ourselves remembering who God is and going to him with our troubles as soon as we name them. And the peace that comes from remembering Him.
One of the key ways of spending time with God, is by praying. Regular, sincere prayers.
Do we take time to talk to God? And like in the skit of the Lord’s prayer, not just talking, but giving Him time to talk back? Do we listen?
I think many of us have forgotten how to listen. I forget all the time...I used to take a whole day sometimes Just to go away and listen to God...I haven’t done that in a long time. Do we need to remember how to listen? It would be a nice change wouldn’t it, to go to God one day with nothing, just to listen..
Prayer can be a group, communal thing, but it can/should also be a very personal thing.
In fact, though prayer is important with others, we shouldn’t forget how personal it is, because it doesn’t stop being personal. Our prayers should reflect and match our hearts, our motives and desires.
Selwyn Hughes says that,
‘We pray with our lives as well as with our lips, and whenever our lives correspond with what our lips say, then heavens stand ready to give us what we ask.’
This is a vital part of prayer for as the popular song goes, ‘You, God, search much deeper within,
through the way things appear, You’re looking into my heart.’
We can’t fool God. Are you unsure that your prayers get answered? Are you wondering why God seems to ignore you? What are you praying for? Does it correspond with what is in your heart, does it correspond with how you live? Are our prayers sincere?
You see in the Lords Prayer Jesus isn’t giving us words that we need to recite, he’s giving us an attitude
which we need to adopt.
If we want to become disciples of Jesus on the inside, where it all counts. We need to become disciples of prayer!
An evangelist by the name of Frank Laubach once said, ‘Only those who pray touch God.’
I’d like to go further and say, only those who pray with all of themselves, only those who pray sincerely from their hearts are true disciples of God. Because there is no pretending, there is no hiding, only open honesty an honesty that will touch God, and a raw openness that will allow him to touch you.
And Jesus goes on to say, when you pray, continue asking, like the annoying neighbor, Persistency in our hearts and prayers, show us to be committed and truly value an answer given. And he tells us that God’s answers are always good and right, for he knows how to give good gifts.
And my guess is that if we have our motives, and hearts right, we will be able to see the rightness of God’s answers, whether they are the ones we want or not.
If you take nothing away from this morning, take these two things: [Please listen to me!]
If we want to be disciples of Jesus on the inside is where it all counts. We need to become disciples of prayer! Only those who pray with all of themselves, only those who pray sincerely from their hearts are true disciples of God. Because there is no pretending, there is no hiding, only open honesty and honesty that will touch God, and a raw openness that will allow him to touch you.
Listen. We need to spend time with God every day! And we will know the changes in our lives!
We will know that we are truly disciples of Jesus, inside where it matters, when we realize that we not only love God’s teaching, but we are constantly thinking about them, being reminded by them as God grows larger in our inner life and the things of the world shrink beside Him!