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STEPping Into Salvation V: Spiritual Drills.

“…Years later, my steps have been focused towards getting better at conversing and listening to God more keenly. I haven’t reached there yet, probably way off but eventually I will… As long as I don’t stop, and I am not planning to stop…” (Previously)

As I grow older, I am learning and understanding the many avenues to learn the word of God and to grow spiritually. At a deeper level, there are avenues that are specific to individual inclinations or calling. For instance, Bible school would be purely an environment where the Bible will be the principle focus. Mission school would be focused on missions and related affairs of missions to the nations, worship school for instance would similarly be aligned to the worship ministry. My introduction to salvation at this new level was sustainable because I got to commit to a process of transformation. Which I was part aware and part unaware. I found myself being introduced to missions and in a class full of people who were way ahead of their spiritual journey than I was.

Albeit “carnal” in nature, when I come to think of it, it is possible that my chances of my life in Christ coming through to me would have been harder had I not been in a class environment. This is because my heart was hardened to a level that I could not just accept Christ and start a new life in Christ immediately. Complicated, I know. I say this with a lot of caution because; the Lord will pull you out of anywhere. Lest the thought of “I wasn’t the kind to get saved” comes to mind. The Lord knew from the beginning and had been drawing me all along. Now I know. Then I didn’t.

‘No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him [giving him the desire to come to Me]; and I will raise him up [from the dead] on the last day. ‘ John 6:44 (AMP)

This is why I say, my carnal nature. Spiritually it is obvious that the Lord can blind even ruthless Saul – for him to be Paul – for him to preach the gospel to the glory of the Lord… Amen? In a discussion we were having recently, about the power of faith and salvation, the word of God is clear in that by faith, we are saved. The prayer is a verbal – physical confirmation and display of an internal process. Just like baptism by immersion. I remembered that since my first altar call at The Christian Church Kerugoya as from the first episode of this series, as much as I never took up the life of salvation – because I went back to an environment that didn’t believe in “that kind of salvation” nothing happened to me spiritually – okay, maybe something unnoticeable. What’s interesting is every time evangelists would preach on radio, I would recite the same prayer over and over again… “Bwana Yesu, Naja mbele yako…” and then I would continue with my life – Little did I know that I was expected to work my salvation with fear and trembling. But never did I grow and activate the process that I am in today at the time, until I enrolled for those classes.

‘So then, my dear ones, just as you have always obeyed [my instructions with enthusiasm], not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence, continue to work out your salvation [that is, cultivate it, bring it to full effect, actively pursue spiritual maturity] with awe-inspired fear and trembling [using serious caution and critical self-evaluation to avoid anything that might offend God or discredit the name of Christ].’ Philippians 2:12 (AMP)

STEPping Into Salvation: So what exactly is STEP? STEP is an acronym for Senders Training and Exposure Program, a course by the Mission Supporters League (MSL), which focuses on Christian Discipleship, Stewardship and Partnership. It is designed to help individuals integrate global mission challenges with local opportunities in strategic investment of resources to advance the Kingdom of God to the nations. The aims of the course was to engage us in knowing and growing our personal walk with God daily as obedient disciples, empowering us to manage and invest God’s resources in His global mission as faithful stewards and exposing participants to present the realities of God’s global mission both off and on-site as willing partners. The 12 week course which included a field experience was designed to deepen my (and other people’s) convictions and broaden the perspective on what God is doing around the world today and help identify how I could be actively involved. The Mission Supporter’s League is a movement of Christians committed to help fulfill the Great Commission through active partnership with mission agencies and this is possible through prayers, financial and moral support for cross cultural ministry among the remaining unreached people groups of Africa and beyond. The body of Christ – Chris included has a mandate to disciple all nations as directed in God’s word.

‘Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations [help the people to learn of Me, believe in Me, and obey My words], baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, ‘Matthew 28:19 (AMP)

The commitment to attend these classes was my God given opportunity for me to actually sit and let the Lord use the people around me to start this process of transformation that is taking place to this day. The very first topic we handled was Discipleship. Under it we studied the new creation, intentional discipleship, transformation disciplines and discipline nations. Brethren we are here today because of the third one: Transformation Disciplines. – The drills. Within the 12 weeks we were expected to have finished the entire New Testament (An average of 24 chapters weekly). It wasn’t going to be easy but well, assignments had to be done.

In our context here, a discipline is “any training intended to develop moral character, or produce a pattern of behavior.” Interesting enough, just like in the military it also means “training that corrects, moulds or perfects the mental faculties or moral character”. For instance, I needed to know God and the only way to know God is to read His word, and for me to read His word consistently, I had to transform my Bible lazy self into an active version of self that read the bible daily. This was the reason why they had specific books of the New Testament that we had to cover within each of the weeks we were in that class. God created us to be a reflection of Him. As we stay in the place of continuous moulding, we are transformed to reflect more like Him. Which is the main goal – to reflect His fullness. A never-ending process. This calls us to consciously engage in certain practices as a way to bring about the process that will cause His life within us to find expression. This does not happen automatically just because we got saved – and that’s why, reciting the prayer in crusades and after evangelists all those years and remaining in the same situation didn’t change me much until now. These disciplines included Bible study, Mediation, Prayer, Fasting, Hearing God, Simplicity, Service, Submission among others. Bible reading came first, way before it became Bible study.

John Ortberg in The Life You’ve Always Wanted says, “Spiritual disciplines are practices that we willingly pursue in response to a God who created us, saved us, and guides us. Spiritual disciplines draw us closer to God, deepen our understanding of who He is, and help make us into the men and women He desires us to become. It is not something that we do out of guilt or obligation; they are not a way to gain God’s attention or earn our way to heaven. Practices such as reading scripture and praying are important – not because they prove how spiritual we are – but because God can use them to lead us into life.”

In these 12 weeks or so, I read the word of God as a novel and I am very sure I comprehended little, but what was clear at the end of it is that I had set a schedule for myself every day to read the bible and that’s how my daily bible study practice foundation was laid. By force! It worked. At this point (2020), I am able to ease myself into it but when I read it, there is more emphasis into understanding that word, what the Lord is saying and meditating on it unlike back then when I wanted to cover my 24 or so chapters for that week. I will be sharing later on the conviction to change beliefs, move churches, the process, the sparks and the resultant fires from the entire process.

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