NOTE:This Discipleship Model is a special 7-part series showing a clear path to spiritual victory. One step will be posted each day for a calendar week. After completion of this series Abundant Life Now will “resume regular programming.”
The treadmill of life is functioning at an ever increasing speed. We are going to be what we are now becoming! What we are currently working on, or ignoring, is the tapestry of our future. Fortunately we are never too old to change.
This Discipleship Model, when followed, results in a changed lifestyle. The model is not linear but rather circular—with no end. On one hand it is progressive as we have seen, but on the other hand it never ends. We must keep on recognizing our responsibility before God. We must continually control out thinking since our attitudes are constantly being formed. Life provides ongoing situations which test our motivations, and so forth. But self-control and spiritual victory are possible. “For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14). This Discipleship Model is a never ending process!
Anonymous, one of my favorite authors, has written: “Righteousness in the heart leads to beauty in the spirit leading to character in the life, resulting in honor in the home, order in the nation, and peace in the world.” When we all have spiritual victory all this will come true (when Christ reigns)! But it should become an increasing reality in the minds and actions of Christians. For that to happen it must begin in our thoughts—only then will our actions be routinely right.
There are many places in Scripture where we find this Discipleship Model practically displayed or taught. As one example consider Romans 6.
Correct Thoughts~“Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death” ”(Romans 6:3). “Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin (Romans 6:6). “Knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him” (Romans 6:9). Knowing has to do with our thinking it through.
Correct Attitudes~“Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:11). Having thought it through, new attitudes are formed.
Correct Actions~“Do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God” (Romans 6:13). Attitudes are the basis for our choices, our daily decisions, which result in our actions.
Correct Lifestyle~“For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace” (Romans 6:14). Our actions have created a new lifestyle. It is not that we now live perfectly but that our overall lifestyle becomes increasingly pleasing to our Father.
Summary~“Just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness” (Romans 6:19).
The concepts in this Discipleship Model are simple to grasp but they require consistent work to develop self-control of our thinking which leads to a new lifestyle. But with God’s help we can do it. Remember the paradox of your responsibility before God and your total dependence upon God.
Our thoughts, attitudes, motivations and lifestyle, determine what we are becoming! The real crux of the matter is desire. Dr. Wayne W. Dyer put it this way, “You are the sum total of your choices.”
It starts with controlling our thoughts. “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful” (Joshua 1:8).
“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us His very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:3-8).
Step 1:Paradox~Understand your partnership with God.
Step 2:Thinking~Choose to control your thoughts!
Step 3:Attitude~Increasingly rely on properly cultivated attitudes.
Step 4:Motivation~Be motivated predominately by yourself, rather than by external factors.
Step 5:Lifestyle~Continue to practice the fundamentals.