Disciple means disciplined learner and is a definition and dynamic Jesus gives to all who return to the Father through him. It’s also a title that will not be revoked, unless we choose, until we exit life and enter eternal life.
Therefore, we are lifelong learners whose only constant is change!
The biblical word for change is transformation, meaning transform or transfigure and appears only four times. Twice concerning Christ appearance on the mount of transfiguration. See Matt 17:2. And the transformation of the believer into the likeness of Christ, through the renewing of their minds. See 2 cor 3:18 & Roms 12:2.
One of the core changes that needs to happened to all disciples of Christ can be seen in the changing of the name, by Jesus, of Peter. Before Jesus re-named him, he was Simon, meaning reed-like. Peter means rock. His previous name infers he swayed and his latter name infers being solid. The name change was a outworking of an invisible truth – Peter’s substance had transformed. He appeared the same but in his words and actions, he was different. These words and actions would take time to fully develop, he would go on to deny his master, but when Jesus said He was now ‘Rocky.’ He was!
The context of this re-naming is very important –Peter had just received revelation directly from the Father regarding who Jesus was. Immediately, Simon is given a new name and his substance is changed. This dynamic is clearly highlighted in John 1:12 –
to “all who received Him (Jesus, the Word) to those who believe in name (work) he gave them power to become children of God!”
Formulaically – receive + believe = become.
The core of Simon was changed by receiving and believing the released Word of God, and so, he went from being easily swayed to becoming rocky. The biblical word which is also an ongoing process, for this, is stable!
Dynamically, stable means established and strengthen, something or someone, who has become and is becoming. They are fixed and becoming firm, established and strengthen! These works are within a person’s life and primarily refer to the state and condition of their faith and their mind! Col 2:5&23; 2 Pet 3:17
In these verses, the word stability and steadfast are being used and the pictures behind them are – to make stable, place firmly, set fast, fix, a firm foundation. These refer to the state and quality of the heart and mind of the believer, and they are also a litany of what the Spirit desires to continue to do in and through us!
Central to our hearts and minds being and becoming more stable is pressure or testing. When the pressure is on, we are close to an opportunity to become more stable, as James, puts it –
“that you may be complete and mature, not lacking anything.” James 1:4.
‘That you may,’ is the language of someone responding, doing their part and so the principle imparts what it contains. The principle here in James is perseverance which is the expected out working or fruit of a life under a time of testing v3. Verse three begins with an assumption – ‘because you know that’ the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
Isn’t that just an annoying word, develops?
I say this sarcastically because I have met many believers who have experience and gone through pressure, testing times, and yet they have not become stable. Quite the opposite actually!
This is due, in part, to a wrong paradigm which is called event-mindedness, that simply believes the event will change them. It will but not for the better, unless they respond to what every event offers: an R.S.V.P. And that, is always to understand and work the process being offered – mature and complete not lacking anything.
If our substance is going to transform we need to have, like Peter, a revelation from the Father. As we respond to that revelation by doing our part, consistently, we will see constancy develop and grow in our hearts and minds, and as a result flow downstream into our lives and contexts!
The process of becoming stable I call gym time or road work and in part two of this blog, I share some thoughts about this necessary discipline. Until then some wise words –
“Champions aren’t made in the ring, they are merely recognised there. What you cheat on in the early light of morning [road work/gym time] will show up in the ring under the bright lights!” Joe Frasier [parentheses mine]
Psalm 112 reveals the benefits of a life that respects and is in awe of Father- God. It also reveals that these benefits are not handed out will-nilly but are the promised consequences of a covenant agreement, entered into by God the Father and His sons and daughters.
The results of respecting and being in awe of Father are what one commentator describes as, “uncommonly profitable,” – uprightness, righteousness, graciousness, compassion, generosity, integrity, steadfastness, benevolence. (the synonyms of these make an inspiring glossary)!
These new attitudes of heart flow down steam into their lives but the individuals consecration also benefits their children – they become influential; mighty in the land, and are empowered to succeed. V2.
As for the individual they prosper – wealth and riches v3, have illumination even in darkness v4, good comes their way v5, they are not shaken v6, they become and remain steadfast and secure v8 and their dignity, symbolised by their horn being lifted up, grows and is acknowledged v 9.
The whole psalm pivots on the understanding the individual holds regarding the word fear. The Psalm seems to have a contradiction within it because it says at the beginning that he, the palmist, fears the Lord and in verses 7&8 it says; he will have no fear?
The fear of vs 7&8 is that classic fear or dread of something bad happening or occurring: Future, Events, Appearing Real! However, in verse one fear is not about dreading or cringing before the Lord but about awe-inspiring respect for who He is and great delight at all He’s said and promised, through His Word!
If we embrace the right kind of fear, as spelt out in verse one and resist the fear of vs 7&8, in all its forms and foes, then all the benefits for us and our children are ours!
This battle is won or lost in the heart which pictures who we be. Who we be, is all about the thoughts we entertain, that become beliefs and the interpretations we make about the experiences we have had. This combination of beliefs and experiences forms who we BE and life begins here and responds accordingly.
The psalmist reveals two attitudes of mind and heart, that have to become daily habits of thought and disciplined responses to all aspects of our life – steadfast and secure!
They will have no fear of bad news;
their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.
8 Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear;
in the end they will look in triumph on their foes
In simple outline form, we see that –
- fear which is a spirit, trying to gain access to our hearts through bad news!
- Steadfastness is the barrier to fear entering in.
- Steadfastness is rooted in trust
- Steadfastness is also attached & supported by an inner heart security
- In the end, after the season is over (1 Pet 5:10 NKJV) they’ll enjoy the vista called triumph
The battle here is about whose thoughts are authoritative in the individuals heart?
This is a vital dynamic because authority cannot be separated from power. Words contain definition and power and in Hebrew thought and language, thoughts and things share the same word –dabar!
Therefore, as a man thinks in his heart so shall he be. Prov 23:7
Thinks suggests focused thinking, not a passing thought but one consistently visited!
The Holy Spirit, speaking through the psalmist is alerting us to the “battle for the benefits!” To triumph in this battle, securing Father’s benefits for us and our children, we have to consider and answer this vital question –
“Who’s words are authoritative in my life?” Our answer will immediately reveal the power we believe IS available to us, for us and toward the issues within our lives and context.
From the outset, Satan went after the benefits the father had given Adam and Eve -the authority they had over the earth and as a consequence the power that came with it, by using words and presenting thoughts, to their hearts and minds! It is still his number one method.
Steadfast speaks of being erect, firm, stable & established. So, my question is established, stable, firm and erect in what? Secures pictures something being propped up, reinforced or strengthen. Again, I ask the question by what?
The answer is words. His Word.
The battle is over words and who’s are authoritative in our hearts and minds, and therefore in our life and issues!
These authoritative words are our anchor, and Jesus said that the storms of life will come and the house, depicting a life, that stands and remains is the one who hears and practices His Words! Matt 7:24-27. Jesus teaching in a word – anchorage! Cf Eph 3:17; Col 1:23 & Hebs 6:19&20
The benefits are free, already given and part of our inheritance, and yet, there is a price to pay which is the discipline of anchoring ourselves in the Word, Jesus. And in the Words of God which are established in the heavens and are eternal. Ps 119:89