Comparing Ourselves Among Ourselves Part II
"Much of the feebleness, barrenness and paucity of religion results from the failure to have a scriptural and reasonable standard in religion, by which to shape character and measure results…We cannot possibly mark our advances in religion if there is no point to which we are definitely advancing.
Always there must be something definite before the mind’s eye at which we are aiming and to which we are driving…Many Christians are disjointed and aimless because they have no pattern before them after which conduct and character are to be shaped. They just move on aimlessly, their minds in a cloudy state, no pattern in view, no point in sight, no standard after which they are striving.
There is no standard by which to value and gauge their efforts. No magnet is there to fill their eyes, quicken their steps, and to draw them and keep them steady. The Scriptures alone make the standard of life and experience. When we make our own standard, there is delusion and falsity for our desires, convenience and pleasure form the rule, and that is always a fleshly and a low rule.
From it, all the fundamental principles of a Christlike religion are left out. Whatever standard of religion which makes in it provision for the flesh, is unscriptural and hurtful…Commonplace religion is pleasing to flesh and blood. There is no self-denial in it, no cross bearing, no self-crucifixion. It is good enough for our neighbors. Why should we be singular and straight laced?
Others are living on a low plane, on a compromising level, living as the world lives. Why should we be peculiar, zealous of good works? Why should we fight to win heaven while so many are sailing there on "flowery beds of ease"? Are the easy-going, careless, sauntering crowd, living prayerless lives, going to heaven?
Is heaven a fit place for non-praying, loose living, ease loving people? That is the supreme question." EM Bounds
Jesus accomplished His task by making disciples, thereby establishing a pattern for us to follow. He was training the twelve while He ministered to the multitudes and effectively laid a solid foundation upon which to build His church.
Failure to follow this pattern is the great cause of instability in a church. It is impossible to build a solid church that can be "the pillar and ground of the truth" with immature Christians. There is a need for faithful men who shall be able to teach others also, and this requires a commitment to the discipleship process to produce mature and stable leaders in the church. In order to produce mature disciples, it is essential to understand the different stages of development. You do not teach and train children the same as you do young men and fathers. By not having clear distinctions in our mind we can be guilty of treating a growing young man like a child, which eventually drives the future leaders out of the church. They become frustrated with the restrictions placed upon them, the lack of responsibility they are given, and that they are not being allowed or helped to grow to maturity.
In order to assist and promote their growth to maturity, they need a clearly identifiable and scriptural goal. The responsibility to identify this goal (direction) and to successfully implement a process which will achieve it (discipleship), all in a scriptural way that glorifies God is the work of the ministry. An attempt will be made to help in both of these areas by establishing the goal, the stages, the process, and some tools for each level of development.