Grow Deep - Core Discipleship Edition Week 1
Week 1: March 1-7
Disciples of Necessity
Memory Verse: “For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’” Matthew 4:10b
Every now and then, I find myself in a situation that goes something like this: a friend or co-worker who is a non-believer will begin a casual conversation with me. The talk could be about any topic, but then they shift directions unexpectedly towards something downright spiritual. The questions begin, and I feel the focus of the heavenly spotlight upon me. I imagine an angel pushing a microphone closer; God smiles and says, “Okay, you’re up kid!” And so I go forth with a bridge to the Good News and invitations happen. Then, eventually, the conversation ends and I see no grand result. “Did I do it right, God? Was I quick to listen? Did I say the words they needed to hear?”
As a disciple, you may have had a similar experience. Discipleship can be difficult; we want to see the fireworks of the Holy Spirit in action or the moment salvation is realized. It’s important to recognize, however, that salvation is God’s work. We may be only one small step in that work. The challenge is that our view is limited.
Jesus' disciples knew how tough following Him can be. They struggled at times despite Jesus' teachings and perfect examples. They sometimes failed to see the bigger picture; their view was limited. But through God's grace and Jesus’ resurrection, their eyes were opened.
As we read Grow Deep this week, we will study different views of discipleship. Our view begins with Jesus' perfect resistance to temptation on day one. Further readings lead us through the Great Commission and through some challenging situations. Let us pray for peace and understanding. Let us find direction in His word. Let us abide in Him so that as His disciples, we can be confident in our efforts with steadfast faith.
Sunday, March 1
Read: Matthew 4:1-11
Jesus is tempted. We can see this passage as a model for resisting temptation but the truth is that God provided the only way for us. He provided Jesus; He is the way. Disciples see Jesus.
Reflect: How does Jesus' resistance to temptation, face-to-face with Satan, after 40 days of fasting help us in our daily efforts to resist our own temptations? Of the words spoken by Jesus in this reading, which resonate with you the most?
Monday, March 2
Read: Matthew 28:16-20
As Jesus prepared to ascend to heaven, He gave His church a commission to spread the Good News and make disciples of all nations.
Reflect: What makes a person a disciple? List some qualities of a disciple. How does recognizing these qualities help you in your discipleship? How can you use those qualities to spread the Good News?
Tuesday, March 3
Read: Acts 1:6-11
Disciples are to be witnesses to all the world of what they have encountered in Jesus. Discipleship requires action. The range of that action is different in each of us.
Reflect: We have each been blessed with many wonderful talents. How can you use your talents to put your faith into action today?
Wednesday, March 4
Read: Mark 8:31-33
When Jesus taught about the cross, Peter rejected it. In our core, the cross doesn’t make sense. Yet Jesus taught that getting around the cross is demonic. Disciples learn to see the cross of Jesus as central to faith.
Reflect: We, like the disciples, have the ability to feel the healing Jesus provides in this broken world. It's a natural tendency to keep Him close. But He must be shared. He was and is God's ultimate rescue plan. How can this perspective inspire you today?
Thursday, March 5
Read: 1 Corinthians 1:17
Paul’s mission is to preach Christ and Him crucified for us.
Reflect: As disciples, this plan is clear. How will you preach Christ today? We know we need to look beyond human wisdom. How can that enlighten your efforts?
Friday, March 6
Read: 1 Corinthians 1:18-19
The message of the cross seems like foolishness to those who are perishing. Faith is what sets us apart in the world. When that faith is challenged, look toward the cross.
Reflect: As disciples, how can we prepare our hearts and spirits for challenges to our faith?
Saturday, March 7
Read: 1 Corinthians 1:20-25
Christ crucified is actually a stumbling block to many, but the foolishness of God is wiser than the wisdom of men.
Reflect: Paul recognizes that the world wants signs and hard evidence. But these things would remove the need for faith. God's wisdom showed us how to be justified by His grace through faith. Let us say a prayer of thanksgiving for the grace and love God has for us. Give thanks for His guidance when the wisdom of man challenges that love and grace.