Spiritual Renewal: Renewal Means Rediscovering Discipleship

(This is a continuation of our study on spiritual renewal. You can find all of the posts here.)
"It is the very nature of spiritual life to grow. Wherever the principle of this life is to be found, it can be no different for it must grow... As natural as it is for children and trees to grow, so natural is growth for the regenerated children of God."
-Wilhelmus à Brakel
Scripture Reading: Isaiah 57:14-21
Lesson: Grace in Christianity is always meant to create action. Renewal begins with a rediscovery of the gospel. That gospel foundation is not then abandoned; it undergirds everything that follows. However, it is meant to flow outward into behavior change. Revival involves a rediscovery of the idea of discipleship.
Isaiah speaks here of the restoration of Israel from exile. While this is a gracious hope, it is also clear that the Israel that is restored is different that the one that was carried away. Contrition is the grounds for their restoration. They are lead into it along “the way,” an image throughout Scripture of obedience to the law and wisdom of God. Indeed, the passage closes with a stern reminder that God’s salvation and renewal are not a license to neglect righteousness and continue in sin.
The Christian life, while built on grace, it meant to be one of continual growth and struggle. Our goal is the perfect righteousness, knowledge and communion with God displayed by Jesus. We must be fighting against temptation, growing in our understanding of Scripture and experiencing heart connection with our Father, and we must be doing this more and more as we continue to walk on the way. We call this process “discipleship.” A disciple is a follower, and Jesus’s call is always to come and follow Him. Each day is meant to be another step along the path our Savior has trod.
Too many Christians in our world have neglected this calling. If the root cause of our moral and spiritual decay is a loss of the gospel of Jesus, its nearer cause is our failure to walk in the way of Jesus. We think that Christianity is a destination we easily and quickly arrive at rather than a continual process of growth. We have ceased to train for spiritual battle; some of us don’t even realize the struggle is occurring at all.
If we are to walk in renewal, it will mean walking in discipleship. We will only experience revived spiritual life when we take up our crosses and begin to follow Him.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, by Your grace You have made us Your sons and daughters, fellow-heirs with Christ. We pray that we might learn, out of this gracious adoption, to live in a way fitting of the children of God. Help us to learn from Jesus what it means to truly live as You call us to live. Teach us to follow in His footsteps. Correct us when we stray. Help us become His disciples, and so be conformed to Your will. All of this we pray in the name of Jesus Christ, AMEN