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Living as an Apprentice to Jesus

12.11.17 | by Larry Gates

    As a disciple-maker it is important to maintain the perspective of being a life-long disciple of Jesus.  This means you are His apprentice. He is the Master Disciple-Maker.  In the New Testament, being a disciple of Jesus meant being an apprentice of Jesus in your daily existence.  The apprentice learned from the Master and lived with him 24/7. The young apprentice came to believe what the Master believed, he lived the way the Master lived, he love others the way the Master loved, he served in the same way and with the same attitude as the Master served, and led in the same way as the Master led.  In essence, the apprentice objective was to became like the Master in every way humanly possible (Luke 6:40).

    If you were to honestly evaluating your apprenticeship to Jesus, how would you stack up?  Are you like minded as Him?  Do you live a life that authentically reflects Him?  Do you love others unconditionally and sacrificially?  Do you minister in an unbiased way to others with compassion and mercy? Does your leadership mirror that of a servant, shepherd, and steward?  If you find yourself lacking in any of these areas, what are you going to do about it?  Before you respond, remember that all of us are living before the face of God all the time.  So, does your apprenticeship to Jesus exist in your daily life?

    If anything needs shoring up, give consideration to your devotion to Jesus.  Devotion is most evidenced by the extent to which you engage in “habits of the heart”.  “Habits of the heart” are activities that are often referred to as spiritual disciplines or spiritual practices. They are centered on our heart’s devotion to being with the Lord through various means. The following list below reflects various devotional practices divided into practices of “abstinence” and the practices of “engagement.”[1]  The list is draw from the writings of Dallas Willard and Robert Foster.

    The Apostle Peter writing to the elect located in provinces of Asia Minor urge them to “abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against the soul” (1 Peter 2:11).  In practicing the “habit of abstinence” an individual abstains to a varying degree for a period of time from satisfying normal and legitimate desires.  These desires are the basic necessities that address the physical, security, social, ego, and self-actualization needs and motivations of people.  They include such things as: air, water, food, rest, health, safety, shelter, stability, being loved, belonging, inclusion, self-esteem, recognition, prestige, power, self-development, and creativity.[1]  It is important to remember that practicing abstinence does not imply that there is anything inherently wrong with these desires fundamentally.  Only when they become a controlling factor in a person’s life or harmful to health or personhood do they represent something detrimental.

    The practice of abstinence needs to be counterbalanced and supplemented by the “habits of engagement” in order to have a balanced devotional life.  Dallas Willard notes that the “habits of abstinence” counter the tendencies to partake in sin of commission, while the “habits of engagement” work against the tendencies to sin by omission.[2]  Both “habits of the heart” work cooperatively to deal with the inherent predisposition of humanity to sin.  In fact, the “habit of abstinence” often provides a pathway for the “habit of engagement” to be activated and stimulate spiritual growth and development.  As a consequence of this interactive process, the soul can be properly engaged in and with God.  With such divine alignment, disciples can live daily in the reality of God’s presence moment by moment.  Meditate on this. Practice the “habits of the heart” diligently and become a disciple of Jesus in your daily existence.

     

    [1] Maslow, Abraham (1943).  “A Theory of Human Motivation”. Psychological Review, 50(4), 370-96.

    [2] Willard, Dallas. (1988). The Spirit of the Disciplines. New York, NY. Harper Collins Publishers, Inc.