Steven recently completed his Discipleship Training School with us in 2016, and has some valuable insight to share with the world about his own experience. Most of which is focused on key aspects of his life that God has gently addressed to bring Steven into an even deeper relationship with Him.
1: THE HEART OF THE MATTER
God opened my eyes to my knowledge-based pride and truly humbled me. He reminded me for the tenth time that my great accumulation of knowledge on spiritual matters is not as important as the state and condition of my heart. The saying is true: “The heart of the matter is the matter of the heart.” My new prayer became, “Transform my heart, O God.”
2: A SWEET SURRENDER
About two months into Discipleship Training School, a guest speaker gave me some valuable insight. He said, “If God is not Lord of all [your whole life], then He is not Lord at all [in your life].” In other words, God asks for my whole heart, not just a piece. My eyes were opened to the cost of following Christ. It meant forsaking the worldly desires that take His place in my life—the very things that so many self-proclaimed Christians are not willing to give up. Was I willing to surrender that to God? I deeply yearned to, but I didn’t know how, or if I was capable. Yet my heart desires that deeper path of full surrender to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Such a path requires continually listening to Him as He speaks, and responding to Him in both personal prayer and obedience. It means remaining in His love, keeping a softened heart, being open, willing, and obedient.
3: ABIDE IN ME
I’ve heard a thousand times throughout my life that Christianity is about “a relationship with Christ”, so much that I think I became numb to what that meant. When I was younger, I thought being “in a relationship with Christ” meant that you said a prayer to “accept Him” and then voila—that’s all there is to it. Nope! It’s more than a prayer. Being in a relationship with Christ means abiding in—remaining in, not departing from—Him. Through my quiet times with the Lord during DTS, He has shown and reminded me how truly personal He is and how much He desires a real relationship with us. I know this is true from experiencing it—He spoke loving, encouraging words to me that were exactly what I needed to hear. His personal communication to me through the Word and His Holy Spirit was evidence enough of his desire for personal relationship.
4: A FATHER’S LOVE
Let me preface by saying there are a lot of not-so-great fathers in the world. Thankfully, God is different. He is a million times more loving, kind, and compassionate than any earthly parent—not to mention completely 100% perfect in every way. I remember a day during class—actually multiple days—when tears were streaming down my face as I soaked in the reality of God’s intense love. His intense love for me. ME. The Holy Spirit was working in my heart. Softening it. Stirring it up. Moving me. God wasn’t just teaching me about His gracious, loving, perfect-fatherly heart, He was letting me experience it. I don’t know yet what it’s like to have a father’s love for a son or daughter, but I know that God the Father’s love is a thousand times more than that. And I experienced this love of the Father from the receiving end, first-hand. And it wrecked me—in the best way.
Written by Steven.