31 Days toward Spiritual Maturity — Day 30

LIVING THE JOURNEY WITH CHRIST — Missing a Layer of the Road

A road is built with layers, and it must be done in the right order.  We’ve been suggesting that there are five key layers of the road of discipleship.  Unfortunately, it’s possible to skip a layer or two – and that can cause all kinds of problems.

For instance, people can try SERVING WITH CHRIST when they’ve never really experienced MEETING CHRIST.  They may work diligently in a church and think that being in church, working in the church, and doing nice things for Jesus make you acceptable to Him.  They’re operating on salvation by good works, which is against everything the gospel of Jesus stands for!  They aren’t actually serving with Christ; they’re working for Christ, because they don’t know Him personally.  You have to experience MEETING CHRIST as Savior if you want to know Him personally.

People can try SERVING WITH CHRIST without following Him.  They act religious in church but act differently behind closed doors at home or in the workplace.  They’ve never really made Christ the Lord of their lives.

People can try SERVING WITH CHRIST without LEARNING FROM CHRIST.  They’re so busy doing things in the church that they never have time to take a class or join a small group.  This is a sure formula for burn-out!

People who try SERVING WITH CHRIST without giving attention to BECOMING LIKE CHRIST will eventually get their feelings hurt and walk away or get angry and lash out.  That happens because they’re trying to do Christ’s work without making an effort to be more like Him!  Without the first four levels – MEETING CHRIST, FOLLOWING CHRIST, LEARNING FROM CHRIST, and BECOMING LIKE CHRIST – it’s won’t work to try SERVING WITH CHRIST.

We could take any one of the other levels of the road and show what happens when it’s missing.  For instance, people who have experienced MEETING CHRIST but haven’t yielded to FOLLOWING CHRIST are what some people call “carnal Christians”: they have the Lord’s forgiveness but they don’t want to live for Him.  They’re taking advantage of God’s grace, which Dietrich Bonhoffer called “cheap grace.”  Someone can be LEARNING FROM CHRIST but not move on to BECOMING LIKE CHRIST.  They have head knowledge of what’s in the Bible but have never let it travel the eighteen inches to their hearts, letting it transform them.

The five levels of the road to spiritual maturity in Christ must all be laid.  We need them all to continue the journey successfully.

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