The Diluted Disciple
“In today’s culture, many people want ‘More me, less God.’ We need more than a diluted, decaffeinated version of discipleship. We need the real thing.” Glen Berteau
As we continue discussing the concepts of living in the gray area of God’s black and white Word, I hope you are questioning your stance on this sensitive subject. Are you noticing a theme within your own life? Even the best intentions live in the gray area and ride the fence of what God’s Word truly says.
Shew! This is hard to chew because of the saturation of gray areas within our culture. Do we as Christians become desensitized with the black and white of God’s Word?
While we are still chewing, let’s do a quick review.
A disciple is a student. The word disciple, like discipline, comes from the Latin word discipulus, meaning “pupil” or “learner.” Thus, to be a disciple, we must discipline ourselves to learn the teachings and practices of Jesus Christ.
Do we water down the word of God with our own spiritual preferences?
The moment you accept Christ as your Savior, you enter into battle. Paul beautifully describes this process in Galatians 5. It is the ultimate battle of the spirit versus the flesh.
Your flesh will always object to the desires of your spirit (Galatians 5:17). Because the Holy Spirit lives within you, the battle to overcome the flesh begins. To have victory, we must walk by the Spirit (Galatians 5:16).
You are different. Not only internally (flesh vs. spirit) but externally with the world.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is different from what the world offers. As His disciples, we must discipline ourselves to learn the teachings and practices of the one we follow.
My son Isaac is a Sweet Tea Connoisseur. Because of massive amounts of consumption, his taste buds automatically detect a counterfeit product. Although not southern in heritage, in the country of Britain, people consume 165 million cups of tea daily. Their tea experts even have the latest research with a specific scientific method in making the “perfect cup of tea”. Of all the “tea-making” information I read, they all agreed the steeping process was the most important. The amount of time a tea bag steeps in the hot water determines the success or failure of each cup of tea. If the tea bag doesn’t steep long enough, the flavor is bland. If the tea bag steeps too long, the flavor becomes bitter. It’s the Goldilocks Phenomenon–it has to be just right.
The same is true for God’s Word. If we don’t abide in His Word long enough, we too are bland and have no flavor. Can you stay in God’s Word too much–never, with the right heart. But, if we abide in His Word for the sheer fact of learning, memorizing, and following the rules, then we lose the grace associated with the cross. Obedience should always be fueled from a heart of love for God. We obey Him because we love Him.
God’s love is not conditional. If we approach obedience with a checklist in hand, our hearts become legalistic and Pharisaical. We begin to turn our spiritual preferences (what we think we and others should do) into spiritual principles (what God’s Word says). Ladies, that will definitely get us into a cup of hot tea, for sure!
What flavor is your heart? Do you have a bland, bitter, or just right flavor? When we look into the Word of God, using it to see our own reflection, God will reveal those areas we are continuing to function within the gray area.
I want to offer you 5 Flavor Checks to see if you are living as a Diluted Disciple.
Flavor 1: Am I truly a believer of Jesus?
Do a heart check. Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith. Ask yourself this question: Do you know where you would go if you were to die tonight? We have to know, that we know, that we know.
“Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you; if not, you have failed the test of genuine Faith.” 2 Corinthians 13:5
Flavor 2: Am I trying to please God or man?
Do I justify my belief, opinion, or behavior on a particular topic? If the Bible teaches it is a SIN, it is a SIN regardless of what culture or popular opinion demands. There is no discussion and certainly no justifying it. Go to God’s Word. The answers will be there in black and white. I promise.
“For am I now seeking the approval of man or God?” Galatians 1:10
Flavor 3: Do I regularly share my faith?
When was the last time you shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ? As a believer, we have the greatest gift, freely given to us than any other gift. We are called to share the hope in Jesus Christ. There is no secret formula or formal procedure in sharing your faith. All you do is share your story–what God has done in your life.
“Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.” Romans 5:2
Flavor 4: Do I serve God, engaging in Biblical community?
When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, satan told Jesus to worship him. Jesus responded with scripture: “It is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve.’”
We are commanded to worship the Lord AND serve Him. When God created Adam, he stated it wasn’t good for man to be alone. (Genesis 2:18). God gave Adam community with his wife Eve. We were created for community.
During our Hospitality series, Debbie and I repeatedly discussed the importance of Hebrews 10:25, “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” The church only functions at its greatest capacity in building The Kingdom when each member uses their God-given spiritual gift.
Flavor 5: Do I serve others?
Service=Sacrifice. I wonder if the sacrificial part of service is why we don’t serve.
Whether God prompts our heart to wake up early to pray for our families, give our time serving food to others, give our finances to serve missionaries, or simply fulfill our daily acts of service to those we love the most, do we serve with a happy heart? Ultimately, it’s not about the person(s) or the task, it’s about our love and devotion to the One who gave His life for us.
“Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into His presence with singing!” Psalm 100:2
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” Colossians 3:23
When our lives become bland, and we aren’t flavored with the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5: 22-23), we must steep in God’s Word and live out His truth. It’s essential that we run to the Word, keeping our flavor in check, preventing us from becoming a Diluted Disciple.
Time to Unfold
- Read God’s Word: Restore your flavor, steep in God’s Word
- Pray: Ask God to reveal the flavor of your heart and bring light into the black and gray areas.
- Do: Live out the truth flavoring others with truth and love.
Stepping in His Word,
Heather McVey, a speaker and accidental writer, has a passion for connecting the dots of God’s Word. Her mission is focused on teaching women how to unfold the scriptures within their own life, encouraging and equipping them to walk worthy of their calling. Learn more about her in Meet Heather.