THE CODES OF DISCIPLESHIP
DISCIPLESHIP CODES: SELF-SACRIFICE
*BIBLE READING: ISAIAH 14:12-14; HEBREWS 11:24-27; LUKE 9:23; PHILIPPIANS 3:8; JOHN 12:24-25*
The codes of discipleship:“Then Peter said, “See, we have left all and followed You.” So, He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life.” Luke 18:28-30 (NKJV).*
In our previous devotionals this week, we highlighted that a disciple is “a person disciplined after a particular order, faith, philosophy or creed.” However, a disciple of Christ is simply, a disciplined follower of Christ Jesus.
From our discussion on the disciplines of a disciple, the concept is not something you stumble upon. Becoming a disciple is a daily walk because you keep paying prices and dying daily *(Luke. 9:23).* Until we become like Christ, we must keep attending the school of discipleship and like every other school there are laid down codes which must be imbibed, hence our discussion on the Codes of Discipleship. I recommend that you also get the book on discipleship code by Rev David Ogbueli.
A code is a system of rules an organisation or people live by. It is a systematically arranged collection or compendium of laws, rules, or regulations. It is a code of conduct taught to show us how to behave in the house of God *(1 Tim. 3:15)*. As Disciples of Christ, we ought to get acquainted with these codes early so that we can ensure we are building on the right foundation. We are going to discuss some of the codes of discipleship today beginning with the fundamental code of Self-Sacrifice.
Self-Sacrifice is the most important of the entire discipleship codes because none of these codes will be possible if you lack this very crucial virtue. Self can also be understood to refer to one’s consciousness of one’s identity which tends to make one egocentric. Satan before his fall magnified himself in Isaiah 14:12-14, which led to his demotion. Notice his use of the personal pronoun “I” on five occasions; that is a prime recipe for demotion and disqualification from being used of God. Nothing has ever been achieved by people who did not first die to self *(Jhn. 12:24)*. Jesus puts the card on the table here and make it very clear that there is a price for kingdom greatness; you must die to yourself.
You cannot go far in God always thinking “what about me? Let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me *(Lk. 9:23)*. The cross is a symbol of death, self-cancellation. There is a glory reserved only for those who deny themselves and put others before themselves. That is the path to glory; take your cross and nail your desires, ambitions, and agenda to it. Die—empty yourself of yourself till nothing is left. It hurt Jesus to die for the world but the prospect of saving billions weighed higher in His mind than the temporal discomfort He had to endure. It took sacrifice for a man who knew no sin to become sin and die the death of a sinner for us so that we would be saved from the wrath to come. Let this mind be in you always *(Phil. 2:5)*. The kingdom is more important than your life. It is more important than your comfort. It is more important than your personal ambition.
Heavenly Father, we thank You for the Selfless Sacrifice of Your Son Jesus Christ on the Cross for our sakes. O Lord, please grant us the grace to die daily to self as we become changed into Your Likeness in Jesus’ Mighty Name. Amen.
*DISCIPLESHIP CODES: STEWARDSHIP*
*BIBLE READING: LUKE 19:12-27; 1PETER 4:10-11; TITUS 1:6-8; ACTS 20:28; LUKE 16:10-12*
*“Just as each one of you has received a special gift [a spiritual talent, an ability graciously given by God], employ it in serving one another as [is appropriate for] good stewards of God’s Multi-faceted Grace [faithfully using the diverse, varied gifts and abilities granted to Christians by God’s Unmerited Favor].” 1 Peter 4:10 (AMP).*
Today’s discussion is on Stewardship which is the next fundamental discipleship code after Self-Sacrifice. The sacrificial nature of a person is significant because owners of resources will have confidence to entrust managerial powers to be exercised on their behalf.
Stewardship means trusteeship, which is a vital code every disciple should be acquainted with. A steward is a manager of another’s property and financial affairs. He is a caretaker. A caretaker is not the owner but has the right to act on behalf of the owner.
The controversy about the ownership of the world is settled in Psalm 24:1-2— *“The earth is the LORD’s, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein. For He has founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the waters” (NKJV).* As Christians we must realize that we are stewards of God. God is the owner of all things and whatever we have was entrusted to us by Him for His own use. We came to the world naked and naked shall we leave it *(Job 1:21)*.
Everything you have, you met here on earth, you did not bring it here neither are you taking it anywhere beyond this life. Wisdom teaches us to know that we are not the owners, we are mere stewards. Some Scriptural examples of stewards were Eliezer and Joseph.
Abraham had a steward in his house whose name was Eliezer *(Gen. 15:2)*. Joseph was a steward in the house of Potiphar his Egyptian master *(Gen. 39:4)*. Joseph was a faithful steward and God lifted him to be the Prime Minister of Egypt *(Gen. 41:37-44)*.
The discipleship code of Stewardship entails that we shall give proper account of all resources—time, talents, skills, spiritual gifts, etc., that God has entrusted to us to manage and to utilize *(Rom. 14:12; 1 Pet. 4:3-5)*. More so, the magnitude of the expected harvest from the Master is dependent on the capacity of the disciple and the volume of resources that has been entrusted to manage *(Lk. 12:47-48)*.
The preservation and non-utilization of the resources we have been entrusted with is not acceptable because it may result to losing the resources to another faithful steward. It is also important to note that a steward is a mere channel but not a reservoir of resources meant for others in need. Besides, it is fundamental that every steward is found faithful *(1Cor. 4:2)*.
Whatever has been committed into your hands must not die. It must also not remain the same in value but should be multiplied, upgraded, and increased in value. Are you employed? Give your best to that job. Are you managing someone’s business? Do it diligently. Are you a pastor? Remember you will give account of the souls under you. Be faithful with another man’s business so that Heaven can release your own *(Lk. 16:12)*.
Father, I am not my own and all I have is Yours, do with me whatever You will. I lay down my plans and ambitions to take up Your Divine will for my life and the resources You have entrusted to Me in Jesus’ Name, Amen!
*DISCIPLESHIP CODES: LOYALTY*
*BIBLE READING: MATTHEW 26:14-25; ACTS 1:15-26; PROVERBS 20:6; PSALM 78:8; PROVERBS 27:10; PSALM 12:1-2*
*“For I desire and delight in [steadfast] loyalty [faithfulness in the covenant relationship], rather than sacrifice, and in the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.” Hosea 6:6 (AMP).*
Loyalty is a major code of every disciple of Christ. Without loyalty, a disciple will be tossed about by every wind of doctrine or by rumours about the master or the organisation.
Loyalty is very important in the kingdom of God. No kingdom can survive without loyalty. The word loyalty also means allegiance, faithfulness, obedience, adherence, homage, devotion, steadfastness, staunchness, true-heartedness, dependability, reliability, trustiness, trustworthiness, dedication, commitment, patriotism. The opposite of loyalty is treachery. Treachery means; disloyalty, faithlessness, infidelity, breach of trust, duplicity, deceit, deception, stab in the back, back-stabbing, double-dealing, untrustworthiness, treason.
The meaning of Loyalty gives a comprehensive insight of the discipleship code of loyalty. Kingdoms rise or fall by the hands of loyal or disloyal people. Disloyalty in the kingdom is like cancer in the body, if not checked on time it can destroy the whole body. Traitors are dangerous people. A traitor is a disloyal friend or servant. People who work against the good of the kingdom or their master who nurtured them should be kept at arm’s length. If they are not loyal to their master, expecting loyalty from them will be unrealistic because loyalty is a character trait that cannot be hidden.
God is not looking for perfect people, He is looking for loyal men. People He can trust. God did not choose Moses because he was a perfect man, He chose him because He saw in him the rare quality of loyalty *(Num. 12:7)*. Moses was loyal, no wonder he went very far in God. In the old testament, there was no prophet greater than Moses because he knew God face to face *(Deut. 34:10)*. God is looking for loyal men like David, who even when he had the chance to kill king Saul who was after his life, he spared him twice *(1 Sam. 24:4-8; 26:11-12)*.
In Matthew 26, Judas went behind Jesus’ back to negotiate with Jesus’ enemies on how much they will pay him to tell them where Jesus was so that they could kill Him *(Matt. 26:14-16)*. Today, Judas is in hell because of his treachery. In Acts 1:15-26, the consequences of Judas’ disloyalty and betrayal of his Master Jesus was recorded for our warning in our relationship with our heavenly and earthly Masters as disciples *(Acts 1:24-26)*.
Don’t be a Judas in the House of God. Don’t betray people’s trust in you. Don’t be a tale bearer against your brother or in the organisation where you work. Your loyalty should not be solely in secret but must be manifestly seen without any doubt on where or with whom it lies. When you start finding reasons to withdraw your loyalty, you were never loyal. Don’t forget, one of the purpose of the great commission is discipleship
Father, I repent from every treacherous action I have taken knowingly or unknowingly in my walk with You or my fellow men. Make me loyal to You Jesus and my fellow men in speech and conduct to the glory of Your Holy Name, Amen.