Grow Deep - Core Discipleship Edition Week 2
Week 2: March 8-14
Disciples of Humility
Memory Verse: “… Whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.” Mark 10:43
The theme that runs through our readings for this week is humility. We are asked to humble ourselves, to put others’ needs ahead of our own, to be generous, kind, tenderhearted, patient, self-controlled … and to behave this way consistently! But that behavior is unnatural for us. Because of the corruption of God’s once perfect creation, it is impossible for anyone, even believers in Jesus, to behave this way all the time.
But thanks be to God! Although we fail to live up to the expectations He outlines in His Word, Jesus forgives us. Then, through the work of the Holy Spirit, we are given the power to try again and again until we do behave as He has asked--never perfectly, but always striving to do better in response to His perfect love for us.
The paradox of the Christian life, of becoming true disciples of Jesus, reflects the paradox of Jesus Himself, Who, though He was rich, became poor for our sakes; Who, though God Himself in flesh, humbled Himself to die upon a cross to pay the debt owed by sinful, broken humanity. That paradox is one in which we daily walk as we continually seek to learn from Jesus by studying His Word and growing in our knowledge of Him, Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life!
Sunday, March 8
Read: I Corinthians 1:26-29
Paul reminds the Corinthians that there is nothing in themselves that makes them worthy of God’s favor; the weak and foolish things of this world put to shame those who trust in their own strength. It is completely by His grace, unearned on our part, that we have the assurance of His love and salvation.
Reflect: Knowing what God has done for us in Christ, how can we ever thank Him enough? How do these verses define humble behavior for you?
Monday, March 9
Read: I Corinthians1:30-31
We are reminded that God is the initiator of our reconciliation with Him. Nothing within us naturally desires this. Honestly, we would rather be accountable only to ourselves than acknowledge a greater Being to Whom we owe allegiance and obedience. Only when we are “in Christ Jesus” are we reconciled with our perfect Heavenly Father.
Reflect: How does the truth of these Scriptures affect the way we think and behave every day? How should it?
Tuesday, March 10
Read: I Corinthians 2:1-5
Paul rightly deflects any praise he might have earned in winning the Corinthians to Christ. His sole purpose was to share what he knew: Jesus Christ, crucified for sinners, nothing more and nothing less.
Reflect: When we are given the opportunity to share the knowledge of what Christ has done for us, how can Paul’s example help us be confident in our witness?
Wednesday, March 11
Read: Mark 10:32-45
Again, we see Jesus turn the whole notion of leadership/discipleship on its head, and His followers just don’t get it! He clearly predicts His arrest, torture and humiliating death; yet, James and John still expect Him to be the Messiah of their expectations. They expect His hierarchy of power to put them in the inner circle of that power. And the rest of the apostles are indignant with them!
Reflect: How does this remind us that following Jesus is nothing like what we expect it will be?
Thursday, March 12
Read: Micah 6:8
“What does the Lord require of you?” It’s simple, yet profound: to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with God.
Reflect: Do we do that consistently? If you’re like me, you’d have to answer, “Sadly, no.” We strive to do better, yet we often fail. But we are not without hope since Jesus did all that we cannot do and took the punishment we deserve for our failures. How does that comfort us? How does it help us to continue striving to do better?
Friday, March 13
Read: Luke 14:7-11
Jesus is getting practical here: two banquet scenarios with which His disciples would have been familiar. Both illustrate how He expects us to behave, and both are clearly not how most people do behave. In both instances, He expects us to act less from self-interest and more from a desire to put others first.
Reflect: How do these verses help us to see more clearly how followers of Jesus are expected to live?
Saturday, March 14
Read: Romans 12:3-8
Paul is reminding the congregation at Rome that humility is the hallmark of a follower of Jesus. He reminds them that each one has a distinct gift from God that is to be used for the service of others. We should neither boast of our abilities, nor be falsely modest, since our talents are gifts from God to be used to spread the Gospel.
Reflect: Do we see ourselves and others in the light of the knowledge that we are each a part of the whole? How does that knowledge make a difference in how you serve God and His people?