Archive for August 2017

The discipline of the disciple   Leave a comment

A disciple of Christ is one who submits himself/herself to spiritual, mental and body discipline.

Discipline is an exercise done to self or others to instill growth. It involves, heart, mind, body and soul. If the discipline exercised on others is not done out of love or for good reasons, it is considered being “controlling”, “abusive” and “dominant”. Self-discipline is a sign of maturity since no one is required to keep us training as we can do it ourselves. A child requires to be disciplined because he/she has no experience of life and need training.

Paul said: “I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.” 1 Cor. 9:27

Think about an athlete Paul says. An athlete is disciplined at the time he exercises. He has strict control on the food he/she eats and is mentally ready to take up a new challenge each day to attain his goal. Discipline is essential to have a healthy family, body and relationship with others. James says that one who is able to discipline his tongue is a perfect man. Paul advised Timothy to exercise spiritual discipline as it is both beneficial for spiritual and body health. Paul said to Timothy that it requires discipline to be godly.

On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”1 Tim. 4:7

In order to give what it takes to God,our family and ministry, it requires to be disciplined in the way we manage our time. Discipline spares much trouble because you’re not only doing the right thing but also the thing right.  Discipline is the pathway to do what you know is right even if you do not want to do it. It is of course easier to talk about discipline i.e. how to eat, how to exercise than actually doing it. I experienced that disciplining  myself in a particular area of my life was difficult in the beginning but after a few months it became a habit. When self-discipline becomes a habit in different areas of our life, we become more diligent and mature. Spiritual discipline therefore results in spiritual maturity (Eph 4:13).

When someone finds it difficult to discipline self to exercise, he/she looks for a coach in a gym to get him/her training. Nutritionists give strict diet to obese people to help them improve their health. How then can a Christian be helped to be spiritually disciplined? God presents Himself as a Father who disciplines His children(Heb 12:6). God uses the bible, life circumstances, the pastor or a mature Christian to discipline us.

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work” 2 Tim. 3:16

Our attitude to discipline will either result to maturity or rebellion. It is a painful experience to exercise a body which has not been training for years. So it is when a Christian has not been living a disciplined life for years. He’ll either give up and continue in his sin when chastised or endure the corrective actions until he becomes spiritually fit.

Training several hours a day is not difficult for a world class sprinter but might cause a heart-attack to a one time runner. Living a disciplined life is a decision. Many take that decision to be disciplined in one particular area of his/her life but finally give up after a few days. It requires perseverance for discipline to become a habit. Think about it, if you’ve been able to discipline yourself for 6 months in a particular area of your life, you’ll most likely be able to do it for 1 year and eventually for your whole life if it became a habit.

The body murmurs about waking up early or exercising when the weather is cold outside. The body complains because it has to wait for the food to be cooked when its hunger could immediately be satisfied through a fast-food. Self-discipline allows a man and woman to exercise self-control on their sex drive and spare them much trouble.

One obvious result of discipline is patience. Adam Clarke defined lust as “I want it now!”. This is a childish behavior of wanting everything immediately. Impatience is therefore a sign of immaturity. Vegetables which grow at their own pace are healthier than those which are forced to grow fast through fertilizers. Better things take time and are usually more valuable.

Veggies are not always as tasty as junk foods but healthier.Physical exercises cause body pain but keep the body fit. Restrictions on expenses cause discomfort but protect self and family. So it is with discipline, it causes pain and discomfort because our flesh naturally seeks for pleasure. Do you want to exercise self for the purpose of godliness?

 

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Posted August 29, 2017 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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Servant Leadership   Leave a comment

Servant Leadership

But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mat. 20:26

  1.  Different from conventional leadership

Jesus taught that Christian leadership is servanthood which is clearly opposed to the world’s concept of being the “Boss”, “Director”, “Captain” or someone having authority over others. Most if not all types of leadership (dictatorial leadership, strategic,charismatic etc) have a man or a group of people at the head having authority. The professional world does not know such thing as an inversed pyramidal way of leading. How can a slave be a leader ?

The word “deacon” used by Paul in 1 Timothy refers to servant or slave. Adam Clarke described it as “The office of a deacon, in the primitive Church, was to serve in the agapae, or love feasts, to distribute the bread and wine to the communicants; to proclaim different parts and times of worship in the churches; and to take care of the widows, orphans, prisoners, and sick, who were provided for out of the revenues of the Church

This definition implies that such a person does not exercise authority on the Lord’s flock, he serves humbly and is concerned for the weak. This type of leadership position is not limited and does not cease to be when you leave position at church or at work. This leadership is really about your character and who you are.

Paul himself described himself as a slave of Christ. (Rom 1:1)

I have become a slave to all people to bring many to Christ“(1 Cor 9:19)

2. It’s not about what you have but about who you want to be

It’s not your intelligence or experience that makes you the type of spiritual leader Jesus is talking about. Jesus said that it is a personal decision to serve others. If you really want to be great in the sight of God, then serve.

Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave

Paul mentioned no physical,financial or intellectual qualifications to be this kind of leader. The qualities that Paul mentioned had to do with conduct at home, at church and especially with non followers of Jesus(1 Tim. 3:7).

3. This kind of leadership is sacrificing self for others

A great leader in the world is measured by his financial results, physical performance, political decision or intellectual abilities. Though Jesus was the utmost authority on earth, He came to serve humanity by pouring out His life for their salvation. Paul said:

When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” Rom. 5:6

Jesus gave an example to his disciples to follow when He washed their feet. Great leaders in the eyes of God are experts in feet cleansing(not theirs of course).

now he loved them to the very endAnd since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. I tell you the truth, slaves are not greater than their master. ” John 13:1-14

4. This leadership seeks no reward and is rooted in humility

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God,he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges,he took the humble position of a slave” Phil. 2:3

This kind of leadership is not motivated in getting something from others but in giving to others. Jesus said: “It is more blessed to give than to receive” Acts 20:35

Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.” Luke 6:35

It does not have to prove something to be recognized.

There is no need to do self-appraisal or show your senior what you did in order to get a promotion. Your CV is written by God not by you.

5. This leadership draws its strength from love

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.  It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”

How to know if you’re a servant who pleases God?

Ask yourself these questions:

Are you patient and kind with your family? Are you serving them?

Are you jealous, boastful, proud and rude with your colleagues or are you gentle, helpful and pushing them towards success? Are you serving them?

Do you easily get angered and have an unforgiving heart with your neighbor? Are you serving them?

Do you persevere in serving others despite no recognition and being hurt by them?

Servant leadership is imitating Christ’s example of serving others.

Paul said: “My old self has been crucified with Christ.It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. ” Gal 2:20

6. It is a Master and slave relationship

Paul made himself a servant of all and was an instrument in the Master’s hand to pour out His love on people. If we call Christ Master then it follows that we consider ourselves slaves.

A slave does not seek for his right but obeys His Master. There’re no menial tasks but all are duties. They do not have working hours, they are readily available any time. They do not live in luxury but are satisfied with what they have. Slaves have no reasons to seek for glory.

In the same way, when you obey me you should say, ‘We are unworthy servants who have simply done our duty.”Luke 17:18.

Finally, successful spiritual leadership is not through strategy but through the influence of the Holy Spirit. Without submission to the Holy Spirit, we will not bear the fruit of the Spirit and our leadership will be carnal.

Imagine how the workplace would have been if the boss had an attitude of servanthood towards employees, how our country would have been if the political leader had a servant attitude towards citizens, how a classroom would have been if the teacher had an attitude of service towards students or how the family would have been if the father/husband served his wife and children. If those in authority exercised servanthood, it would have brought less harm, more peace and love.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted August 5, 2017 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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