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GROWING IN CHRIST

"The Heart of Jesus"

Date published: 07/27/2015
 
Isaiah 61:1-4 “The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion — to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of His splendor. They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations. (NIV)  

   This passage of Scripture helps connect both the heart and result of discipleship with the command to witness and disciple found in Matthew 28:19-20a, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (NIV)  We hear all types of reasons from Christians on why they do not witness and disciple. All the reasons not to witness evaporate when you start to see non-Christians through the lens of Isaiah 61:1-2. Your heart sees the lost as poor, brokenhearted, in darkness, as prisoners, mourning, and grieving. Very few people will not have an urgency to help a person close to them in this condition, yet each day we ignore our neighbors whom we are commanded to love. Pray for a heart that loves, a spirit that is filled with compassion, and a will that is emboldened with the love Christ has for you.  

   This passage of Scripture now turns to what occurs when you have love, compassion, and boldness – changed lives! Beauty arises from the ashes of life. Gladness from mourning. Praise instead of despair. A broken life now becomes an oak of righteousness – a display of His splendor. This type of transformation should light a fire in your heart and a passion in your spirit. God calls you to disciple and lead others to Christ. In Galatians 5:6, Paul expresses the importance of faith resulting in actions, “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” (NIV)  Taking the time to disciple a new Christian allows God to use you in His transformative process so that his faith can grow. Discipling another may consist of sharing Scriptures, experiences, and encouragement, or it may require greater involvement such as mentoring, modeling, in-depth Bible study, patiently listening, and loving. In 1 Corinthians 3:6, God calls you to not only be His hands, but also to do so knowing that it is only God who does the work, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow.” (NIV) 

Luke 6:40 “A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.” (NIV) 

Do you know someone who needs this message on witnessing and discipling? If so, forward this devotion to them as a blessing for their growth in Christ. 

Here are some Bible studies from Growing in Christ to help your transformative experience: “Discipleship” and “Discipleship: One-on-One.” 

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