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Entries in Discipleship: The Path to Freedom (2)

Monday
Nov062017

It’s Time to Grow Up

A few years back, I bought a movie about the life of Esther. In the movie, there’s a scene where the beautiful Esther weds the powerful King Xerxes of Susa. Esther walks down the aisle of a grand banquet hall and ascends ornate steps to stand before her soon-to-be husband. Having a desire for greater intimacy with the Lord, I watched that scene over and over, teary-eyed, as I envisioned myself walking down that aisle and up those steps toward
my King.

One day as I played that scene over yet again in my mind, I got to the part where I ascended the steps in my beautiful dress. I looked up and, in the spirit, I saw Jesus there before me. I immediately noticed something I hadn’t before: my elegant ascent up those grand banquet steps was being hampered by a heavy, awkward suitcase—contents unknown—that I was trying to drag up with me.

I looked down at the suitcase and back up at Jesus, and He spoke these words to me: “It’s time to grow up.”

Suddenly, I knew what was in that suitcase. It contained the baggage of my past—all the pain and rejection, all the hurtful words that had been said, all the wounds I’d been nursing.

In Andrew’s new teaching, Discipleship: The Path to Freedom, he talks about the fact that we attach too much value to people and to the words that are spoken over us. The value we place on them determines how much power and influence they exert over us.

Andrew says, “You’re the one who places value on everything that comes against you. You may not think about this, but every time somebody says something, you place a value on this. [You] value their opinion, or you devalue their opinion. And if somebody has criticized you, and it’s just cut you to the core, it’s because of the value that you placed on them”
(brackets added).

Valuing others’ opinions over God’s had caused me years of pain and heartache. It had also come at the expense of my spiritual growth.

Years before, I’d perceived that my immaturity and failure to be governed by the Spirit were keeping me from God’s best. I was desperate to grow up, but I didn’t know how. I didn’t know what was holding me back. I had no idea that it was a wrong focus. I was valuing the opinions of man rather than God and His opinion.

As I stood there with my suitcase, I knew the Lord was giving me a choice: Would I value my destiny in Him or the words of rejection and pain of my past? Whatever I chose, I knew I would have to forfeit one for the other.

So, I made my choice. And I chose Jesus. Instantly the suitcase full of rejection and pain melted away. Those things just weren’t important anymore compared to the infinite value of the King who stood before me.

Has the Lord set you free in an area of your life? Share with us below. We would love to hear from you! And to find out more about the path to freedom and maturity, watch Andrew’s new teaching, Discipleship: The Path to Freedom, on the Gospel Truth the rest of this week. You can also check out the television archives to view any missed episodes.

Written by Sylvia F. Wells

For resources and products or to partner in the U.S., visit www.awmi.net; outside the U.S., visit www.awme.net.

Monday
Oct302017

2 + 2 ≠ 5  

Two plus two does not equal five. Of course not; two and two make four.

George Orwell’s 1984 was assigned reading when I was a sophomore in high school. Some of you may recall the main character, Winston Smith, writing “2 + 2 = 5” in the dust on the table at the end of the novel. Others of you may not have read it. But don’t worry—I’ll keep you clued in.

I love to read. But when I was a sixteen, I didn’t love to read the Bible. God was flexible with me, though, and He spoke to me often through secular books, especially 1984. For those unfamiliar with that work, 1984 is no fairy tale. The main character struggles to maintain safety and sanity in a dystopian society where free thought is outlawed.

Through the book, Orwell coined the term doublethink, which he defines as “the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.”* Doublethink is very much like double-mindedness. And the “power” it entails is extremely dangerous.

James 1:8 says, “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” And James is right. Sixteen-year-old me roamed the school halls, unstable. I professed Jesus as my Savior, and I believed He was, but somehow, I lived out other “truths,” simultaneously believing that I was alone and hopeless. I lived powerless, bitter, and miserable. I was practicing doublethink, and it was keeping me from living free.

In his Discipleship: The Path to Freedom teaching, Andrew explains the mess that doublethink can lead people into. He says that “there are reasons why we aren’t experiencing the abundance and the quality of life that God wants us to . . . we cry out, we beg, we plead . . . but we don’t renew our minds. We don’t know the truth. We don’t continue in it until we get free, and we wonder why things aren’t working.”

Andrew goes on to say, “The greatest thing you will ever do is renew your mind by the Word of God, and that’s what the Bible calls being a disciple.” In John 8:31-32, Jesus defines discipleship. He says, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; [32] And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

Sixteen-year-old me needed to renew her mind. Instead, I was brimming with anxiety and fear. But while reading 1984, I came across the lines, “There was truth and there was untruth, and if you clung to the truth even against the whole world, you were not mad.”*

When I read those words, Jesus confronted me in my spirit, as if to say, How long will you practice doublethink? You say I am your Savior, but you live like you don’t know Me. There is truth and there is untruth; whatever is separate from the truth must be a lie. Will you defend the Truth with Me?

What was so complicated before became simple. I said yes—a whole-hearted, single-minded yes. I embraced the truth and forsook the lie. I began dismantling the doublethink I had become so familiar with. I began living free. Jesus calls us to discipleship. He calls us to defend the Truth, and that starts with renewing our minds to know the Truth. Andrew says, “It’s not easy to be a disciple. It’s simple, but it’s not easy.” So, how do we do it?

We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:5, English Standard Version

In other words, we remind ourselves that 2 + 2 ≠ 5.

Don’t miss Discipleship: The Path to Freedom, airing on the Gospel Truth. Andrew will teach you how to be a disciple of Christ and live the free, abundant life Christ came to give to us (John 10:10).

Written by Katie Scruggs

For resources and products in the U.S., visit www.awmi.net; outside the U.S., visit www.awme.net.

*Quotes from George Orwell’s 1984 are frowww.goodreads.com.