Devoted

Devoted

by Arron Chambers
Devoted

Devoted

by Arron Chambers

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Overview

Being a disciple of Jesus is an issue of devotion rather than duty. Before Peter began the most important act of his life—discipleship—Jesus didn’t ask him, “How many chapters of the Torah did you read today?” or “Are you attending services at the synagogue each week?” or “Did you give your tithe today?” No, before Peter began his journey of discipleship, Jesus asked him, “Do you love Me?” Arron Chambers thinks that we are asking new disciples of Christ the wrong questions and that it’s time to start truly following the example of Christ by asking of disciples what Christ asked of Peter: devotion, not duty. In Devoted, Arron presents a new paradigm for discipleship: falling in love with Jesus. This approach to discipleship emphasizes passion for Jesus as opposed to a plan for following Jesus.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781612917924
Publisher: The Navigators
Publication date: 09/01/2014
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: eBook
Pages: 272
File size: 461 KB

Read an Excerpt

Devoted

Isn't it Time to Fall More in Love with Jesus?


By Arron Chambers

Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2014 Arron Chambers
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-61291-637-8



CHAPTER 1

WAITING

TRUE LOVE WAITS


And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father. — Acts 1:4


Amanda sat with me and my wife late one night on our back porch. She felt like she wasn't pleasing God because she wasn't currently involved in any ministries at church. With tears spilling onto her cheeks, she said, "I feel like I need to be doing more for God."

In a moment, I'll tell you what I told her, but you're going to have to be patient.

I can be very impatient. Stoplights are almost unbearable. Don't send me long e-mails. Get to the point, already! I'm always the first one up on Christmas morning. I have a hard time waiting the two minutes and twenty seconds it takes to make microwave popcorn, so I often pull it out before it's done popping—only to lament the number of unpopped kernels in the bottom of the bowl. If possible, I always use the "Self Checkout" lane at the grocery store and also always get annoyed if I have to wait behind a person who is trying to buy twenty-five items with a check in the "15 Items or Less; Cash Only" lane! I always fast-forward through the previews on the rental DVD so we can get to the movie. I DVR NASCAR races so I can race through the commercials and caution flags, finishing most of the four-hour races in less than an hour. And, I struggle with finishing my wife's sentences for her because I'm trying to move the conversation along.

I know, I know. That's not just really annoying; it's also not conducive to a healthy relationship with my wife or anyone else for that matter.

One of the hallmarks of true love is patience.

Hello! The first word from Paul on love is, "Love is patient" (1 Corinthians 13:4).


TRUE LOVE WAITS

To some, the words True Love Waits may be nothing more than the tagline of a Christian youth abstinence movement which has been engraved on purity rings, pendants, T-shirts, keys, bracelets, dog tags, visors, journals, Bibles, hoodies, bumper stickers, Christmas tree ornaments, buttons, infant bodysuits, baby bibs, teddy bears, thank-you cards, tote bags, mouse pads, coffee cups, pajamas, boxers, and thongs worn by countless teens and young adults who have pledged to not have sex before marriage, which is a good thing. Not having sex before marriage, that is. Testifying to your vow of premarriage celibacy on the front of your boxers or thong is not necessarily a good thing. At that point you may actually just be testifying that your moral convictions are really only abstract ideas to which you are barely committed and which can be stripped away as easily as your outer garments, revealing words that really don't resonate on polished cotton and lace as well as they resonate when pledged at the altar of a Christian teen convention.

Do you see the irony of wearing undergarments that testify to your belief that "True Love Waits"? The only way for said undergarments to be seen is for someone to not wait on the appropriate side of your boundaries of sexual purity (which doesn't seem to be very loving to you), or for you to compromise your own moral boundaries for the desires of another (which doesn't seem to be very loving to yourself).

If you truly love someone, you will wait.

You will wait so you can walk her home from the bus stop.

You will wait patiently in her living room, making uncomfortable small talk with her dad, as she changes her dress for the tenth time.

You will wait to have sex with her until safely within the covenant of marriage.

You will wait for her at the front of the church in anticipation of the proclamation of sacred promises.

You will wait as he serves our country in a foreign land.

You will wait up, with a candle in your window, so you can kiss him good night when he gets home from work.

You will wait for her to finish her sentences on her own.

You will wait in the surgery waiting room, hoping for news that the cancer hasn't spread.

And, you'll wait in Jerusalem because that's what Jesus said to do.

Are you willing to wait for Jesus?

I don't want you to rush this relationship-with-Jesus thing. Let's take it slowly. Let's be patient. I don't want you to start working for the Lord right now; I want you to start waiting on the Lord right now.

Which is not the course of action we preachers most often encourage in new Christians. What we most often encourage new Christians to do is nothing. You give your life to the Way, and we give you no direction on how best to follow Christ for the next week, let alone for the rest of your life.

Typically, we preachers just let you start doing whatever it is you think new Christians do after their conversion, which typically looks like reading through the Bible from beginning to end, praying twenty-four hours a day, giving all of your money to starving kids in Kenya, joining a small group, and going to church every time the doors are open. In my experience, these activities by new Christians rarely last very long because they are a lot of work.

And, if we do "do something" to give you some direction after your conversion, it usually looks like this. Before you've even dried off the waters of the baptistery, we hand you a Bible, a Certificate of Baptism (a document necessary for admission to heaven), a schedule of our Sunday school classes, and a directory of our small groups—and if we're really on the ball, we hand you a copy of The Purpose Driven Life, pat you on the back appropriately, and send you on your way down the uneventful and completely trouble-free road to eternal glory.

As I've fallen more and more in love with Jesus and become more devoted to him, I've become more convicted that the best thing to do at the beginning of a relationship with Jesus is to do what Jesus did at the beginning of his ministry and what the disciples were commanded to do at the beginning of their ministries: Wait.

After his baptism in the Jordan River, Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into a wilderness for forty days. Jesus waited forty days after his baptism to begin his ministry. During this time he fasted, prayed (fasting was always accompanied by prayer), and was tempted by the Devil.

This is so atypical of what we preachers model and expect of new Christians. If we'd been running the show (so to speak), we would have had Jesus get right to work as soon as he dried off and changed clothes after his baptism.

"The clock is ticking!"

"You gotta make hay while the sun is shining!"

"You've got to strike while the iron's hot!"

"Today is the day of salvation!"

"The salvation of a lost world is at stake, so we'll have none of this taking forty days off to wait upon your Father right after your baptism."

Which is why so many new Christians flame out too soon.

Do you know what Jesus didn't do after his baptism?

He didn't go to the synagogue for over a month.

He didn't pay a single tithe.

He didn't take a new believers' class.

He didn't read from the Torah.

He just followed the Holy Spirit into a time of waiting.

The salvation of a lost world is at stake, so you better take forty days to wait upon the Lord after your baptism.

Do you see how bizarre this is, in light of what we typically expect from new Christ-followers? This is the opposite of what we consider to be true discipleship. I think there'd be considerable resistance in the typical church if the pastor expected people to follow Christ's example.

"Congratulations on giving your life to Christ and being baptized! Now, here's what we want you to do. We want you to not go to church for the next forty days. We don't want you to pay a dime toward your tithe. We don't want you to sign up for our New Believers' Class. We don't want you to read your Bible. We just want you to follow the Holy Spirit into a season of waiting."

For so many of us—and by "us," I mean Christian leaders and people who have spent decades in the church—this does not fit into the paradigm we call "discipleship."

We Christians, convicted that "now is the day of salvation" (2 Corinthians 6:2), have convinced ourselves that, in most situations, waiting is a waste of time, and when it comes to our faith walk, waiting is almost sinful. But these beliefs are nonsense, unbiblical, and toxic to developing a healthy and lasting relationship with Jesus.

The Bible is replete with faithful people who had to wait faithfully.

God promised Noah, "I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons' wives with you" (Genesis 6:18). But Noah had to wait probably twenty to forty years for this promise to be realized.

Abraham was seventy-five years old when God first promised him, "And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed" (Genesis 12:2-3). But Abraham and Sarah had to wait twenty-five more years for the birth of Isaac.

Joseph was only seventeen when God gave him a dream revealing that his brothers would bow down before him (see Genesis 37:1-11). But he had to wait about twenty-four years, enduring thirteen years in Potiphar's house and in prison and seven years of famine, before his prophetic dreams were fulfilled.

The children of Israel waited in the silence of God for about four hundred years in Egypt before he responded and sent Moses to deliver them. They then waited for forty years in the wilderness before finally being released into the Promised Land.

King David, while waiting under the threat of adversaries and "false witnesses," testified, "Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!" (Psalm 27:14).

Hannah desperately wanted a son, so she prayed and waited faithfully for years and years before God finally answered her prayer "in due time" with Samuel (1 Samuel 1:20).

When the people of God were waiting for deliverance during a time of intense trials during the reign of King Ahaz, the prophet Micah testified, "But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me" (Micah 7:7).

Prophesying of the time when God's people would be held captive in Babylon, Isaiah promised, "Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint" (Isaiah 40:30-31). Isaiah also said, "From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for him" (Isaiah 64:4).

The author of Lamentations (probably Jeremiah the prophet) reminded the people of God, after the fall of Jerusalem, "The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord" (Lamentations 3:25-26).

Rewards, strength, and salvation are all promises tied to waiting on the Lord, so we should not be surprised that Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into a forty-day period of waiting before beginning his ministry.

And we should not be surprised that before the apostles began their ministry in Jerusalem, Jesus appeared to them for a period of about forty days and ordered them to stay in Jerusalem "to wait for the promise of the Father" (Acts 1:4).


WAITING IS THE HARDEST PART

We want results and we want them now and we want them to come without a great deal of effort.

Spend some time watching late-night TV, and you'll see what I mean. The late-night airwaves are saturated with a constant stream of resources, plans, and gadgets that will improve your life immediately, satisfaction guaranteed (or you'll get your money back, in sixty to ninety days).

If you feel like thirty seconds is too long to open your can of soup with an "old-fashioned" hand-crank can opener, the Tornado Can Opener is an answer to your prayers! It will open your cans in twenty-five seconds!

Think that it takes too much time to clean your ears with a cotton swab? No worries! WaxVac will clear the wax out of your ears quicker than a cotton swab ever dreamed of !

Forget going to the barbershop or hair salon. Trimming your hair now takes only seconds with Micro Touch Max!

Want fantastic abs? Forget those silly crunches and sit-ups! The Ab Rocket will give you great abs in just five minutes a day! Plus, it comes with the Fat Blasting System! Blast your fat into cellulite oblivion with minimal effort and even less sweat!

Want to transform your entire body in fewer than sixty days? Then you'd be crazy not to try the INSANITY Workout!

If that doesn't work, you can wear the Slim Away girdle and you'll look slimmer instantly!

And, if that doesn't work, you can join the countless others who spend $1.2 billion annually just to have your fat sucked away in only moments ... while you sleep!

I don't know if you've realized it, but exercise is hard work.

Well, so is waiting, which is why Jesus had to order the apostles to stay and to wait (see Acts 1:4).


STOP, IN THE NAME OF LOVE!

Do you know who else needs to be ordered to "stay" and wait? My two Labrador retrievers! My cat, on the other hand, ignores any and all orders, but that's another story for an article I'm writing on eschatology entitled "Welcome to Hell! Here's Your Cat!"

Animals aren't known for their self-control. Neither are immature Christians.

Self-control is one of the fruits of the Spirit and is also evidence of true devotion to Jesus.

Jesus, knowing the human propensity for chasing after cars, orders his followers to follow him in waiting for forty days before beginning their ministries.

But why wait?

Why did Jesus wait forty days before preaching the gospel in Nazareth? Why did the apostles wait fifty days before preaching the gospel in Jerusalem? Why am I about to order ... ask ... beg you to wait forty days before you do anything else?

Because I want you to have a relationship with Jesus.

Because I want you to be strong.

Because I want you to have a strong relationship with Jesus.

Do you know that the Law of Moses required a newly married soldier to be relieved of duty for a year so he could spend time with his wife?

Why did God command this of a newly married man? Because God understands relationships more than we ever could, and he wanted Israelite marriages to be strong. The first year of marriage is crucial to the long-term stability and strength of the relationship, so it was important that the new couple spend uninterrupted time together. This phase of the relationship—this period of inaction and waiting—was a God-ordained opportunity to strengthen the relationship and guarantee future fruitfulness.

Inaction, for the Devotee of Christ, is not a sign of weakness but an opportunity for strength. Waiting, for the Devotee of Christ, is not a sign of unfruitfulness but the only way to be truly fruitful.

I believe one of the reasons the apostle Paul was used in such a dynamic way to help people see the truth was because he had to wait. After encountering God in a transformational way on the road to Damascus, he was forced into a three-day period of waiting in blindness before he was released into his ministry (see Acts 9:9).

Jesus wanted the apostles to be fruitful, so he ordered them to wait for something very specific: the promise of the Father. What promise was God going to give them if they were willing to wait?

Wait for it.

Wait for it.

Power, in the person of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus promised that if they would stop and wait in Jerusalem, at just the right time and in just the right way the Father would give them all of the power they were going to need to do everything they were going to be called upon to do.

Power.

Do you feel powerful? Any physical trainer will tell you that you don't get more powerful sitting around and doing nothing. I'm not your physical trainer, and I could not care less how much you can lift, how far you can run, and how many trans fats you ate today. I only care about one thing right now: Do you love Jesus?

Do you love him enough to stay? "And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem" (Acts 1:4).


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Devoted by Arron Chambers. Copyright © 2014 Arron Chambers. Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents

A Word Before, ix,
INTRODUCTION: Just Love, xi,
CHAPTER 1 Waiting: True Love Waits, 1,
CHAPTER 2 Trusting: Of Dependency and Dynamite, 19,
CHAPTER 3 Seeing: Love at First Sight, 35,
CHAPTER 4 Speaking: To Tell the Truth, 51,
CHAPTER 5 Learning: "A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Waste", 71,
CHAPTER 6 Sharing: On Pound Cake–Filled Purses, 85,
CHAPTER 7 Remembering: The Descanso at Mile Marker 38, 101,
CHAPTER 8 Praying: "I Pledge Allegiance", 117,
CHAPTER 9 Believing: Leap!, 135,
CHAPTER 10 Sacrificing: "Or, Buy Myself a Car!", 149,
CHAPTER 11 Enjoying: Waist-Deep in Unexpected Joy, 163,
CHAPTER 12 Praising: Six Nickels and Three Dimes' Worth of Worship, 181,
CHAPTER 13 Growing: The Magic Pill, 195,
The 40-Day Devoted Experience, 211,
Acknowledgments, 237,
About the Author, 241,
Notes, 243,

What People are Saying About This

Leonard Sweet

In a world of one-calorie Christianity and diet discipleship, Arron Chambers issues a clarion call for ‘devotees,’ disciples utterly devoted to Jesus. Without this dazzling gem of a book, I never would have properly understood my vocation as devotion.

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