Establishment of strong battle foundations.
Few if any of us would ever consider building something without having a foundation to build it on. Consider a bridge or other massive structure. Once the ground is cleared or hole dug at the location of the structure, a foundation is constructed. Often you will see long pieces of steel girders (“piles”) being driven into the ground by pile-drivers at the site of the foundation. Ask the engineer in charge and he will tell you that the reason for using the piles instead of building on the existing ground is that the ground, by itself, does not have sufficient strength to ensure that the structure will be secure and will not move from its desired location. The piles are driven deep into the ground, often until they contact bedrock. Around the exposed portion of the piling, massive amounts of concrete are then poured to complete the foundation. Depending on the size of the structure, the depth of concrete can range from a few feet to tens of feet thick. Homes are also built on a foundation, typically smaller than described above and called “footings”. When a dentist puts a “crown” on a tooth, he makes sure that the underlying tooth provides a good foundation for the crown. These are just a few examples of foundations.
Why are foundations important to us as followers of Jesus? Matthew 7:24-27 tells us the following as spoken by Jesus:
"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash." (NIV)
Luke 6:47-49 also records the words of Jesus as follows:
“I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete." (NIV)
A solid foundation is important and necessary to keep the structure immovable and from collapsing. Our life as a follower of Jesus Christ must be built on a firm foundation so that our faith in Him will be immovable as we face the “torrents” of life that are sure to come our way. Whether you are a new follower just starting out on the journey or a longer time follower who has never had a firm foundation established, this is for YOU!
This is true discipleship. It is on-on-one mentoring. It will require full commitment. It will require hard work and study. It will require you to read scripture, study scripture, and memorize scripture. It will hold you accountable. It will ultimately provide the firm foundation for your faith to grow and to stand immovable throughout the storms of life.
This journey will take from 3 to 6 months (or longer) to complete. This will depend on the schedule decided between you and your mentor.
Part I Life in Christ
At the foundation of our lives as followers of Christ is the relationship we have with God through Jesus Christ. We have forgiveness and salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ. We have a heavenly identity along with all it’s blessings through the position of Christ as the Son Of God. We have a role model to follow as disciples through the earthly life and ministry of Jesus. Jesus Christ then is the center of our life.
Part II Inner Disciplines of a Disciple
Discipline is “training that is expected to produce a specified character or pattern of behavior, especially that which is expected to produce moral or mental improvement”. We have a standard for this character or pattern of behavior, the Person of Jesus Christ. We want to train ourselves so that we become “Christ-like”. Internal and external transformation does not happen because we practice of conform to a discipline. The disciplines themselves do not change us. They only put us in the place where change can occur. Transformation to become Christ-like comes through the Holy Spirit as we are obedient in the disciplines and in fellowship with Christ. The “Inner Disciplines” help us to know God and fellowship with Him. They relate to our inner being – our thoughts, attitudes, and responses to God.
Part III Outer Disciplines of a Disciple
The “Inner Disciplines” are those affecting our knowledge and fellowship with God. It is a vertical relationship with God. The “Outer Disciplines” are about the horizontal relationships we have – how we respond to people and the things of this world. They show us how to relate Christians and non-Christians, as well the resources entrusted to us by God. They are an expression of the “inner disciplines” being present in our lives.
Part IV Living In Obedience to Christ
The Bible is often viewed as a Rule Book with list of do’s and don’ts that you have to adhere to if you want to find favor with God. Obedience to God is a foreign concept until we experience a personal relationship with God. Once we experience God’s forgiveness and have received the Holy Spirit, we find that we desire to please Him. We obey out of love for God and not to “score points” with Him.
Part V What Now – The Continuing Disciple
You have focused on and learned the essential, foundational areas of the Christian life. You have hopefully developed a Christ-like obedience to them. Though you now have a firm foundation, the learning process and life of obedience should not stop. You must continue to grow and live fruitfully for God. Your growth will not be finished until you are completely Christ-like in all you think, say, and do. This is the ultimate goal of discipleship.