Maintaining spiritual discipline is a human responsibility that can bring a believer to the place where he encounters divine sovereignty, taught Bobby Chaw last weekend.
“As we journey ahead, we will face many unknowns and challenges just like the Israelites [did]. But one thing is for sure, God is with us. Therefore, fear not because God is going to lead us every step of the way. Our job is to keep pursuing the presence of God, pursuing that pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire. If God is for us, then who shall be against us?”
The executive pastor of City Harvest Church was preaching at the weekend service of Jun 2 and 3 on the importance of spiritual disciplines, in line with the church’s drive to build deeper disciples.
DON’T JUST START WELL, FINISH WELL
Reading Numbers 10:11-13, Chaw noted that the Israelites started out well. They were obedient and disciplined.
“In fact, if the Israelites had continued in the same way they started out, they would have reached the promised land within a short few weeks.”
What went wrong? “There is a difference between knowing the Word of God and continually doing the Word of God,” Chaw explained, reading from the book James: “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”
“We must become doers of the Word of God, not just once or twice but continually,” Chaw said, adding that the journey of life is not a sprint, but a marathon. God wants His people to finish the race well. (1 Cor 9:24-27).
“The key to longevity in this journey of faith is discipline,” he said.
Reading Acts 2:42-43, Chaw noted how the apostles did “many wonders and signs” because they “continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine, fellowship, in the breaking of bread and in prayers.”
“These spiritual disciplines create the environment for signs and wonders,” Chaw said. “Here is the paradox of divine sovereignty and human responsibility. By ourselves, we have no power to live a Godly life. Only God can change us from glory to glory.”
However, the human responsibility of maintaining spiritual disciplines can bring a believer to the place where he can encounter divine sovereignty. It places the believer before God so that He can transform him.
“Spiritual disciplines provide the right conditions and they create a space for God to work in our lives,” Chaw elaborated.
Paul said in 1 Corinthians 3:6, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase”. Paul and Apollos fulfilled their human responsibility but God exercised His divine sovereignty when He gave the increase. Similarly, in Acts 2:42-43, the believers devoted themselves and a supernatural move of God took place.
The four important spiritual disciplines here are devotion to the Word of God, devotion to relationships, devotion to service, and devotion to prayers.
“When we perform our human responsibilities, His divine grace will be upon us,” said Chaw.
Going back to Numbers 10, Chaw read verses 33 to 35, which recorded the ark of the Covenant going before the camp when the Israelites journeyed through the wilderness. Chaw reminded the church that in all that they do, God must always go before them, or all that they do will be in vain.
Every time the ark set out, Moses would pray for the Lord to attack their enemies and every time the ark rested, He would ask God to stay close to the Israelites.
“Moses did that not to remind God, but to remind himself and His people that God must always go before them. We too must remember that,” concluded Chaw.