The Importunate Widow? About Discipleship?
Just how personal is the discipleship relationship? Who is the true teacher? Is the church the arbiter of the interpretation of the Word of God or is it between a man and his enlightenment by the Holy Spirit? Who is the final arbiter of Truth?
The Book of James speaks to discipleship in this way:
1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
1:6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
1:7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.
1:8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
The Parable of the Importunate Widow(Luke 18) speaks of it this way:
18:1 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
18:2 Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:
18:3 And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.
18:4 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;
18:5 Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.
18:6 And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.
18:7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?
18:8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?
Paul speaks to Timothy(2nd Tim 2) these thoughts:
2:12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:
2:13 If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.
2:14 Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.
2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
2:16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.
2:17 And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;
2:18 Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.
2:19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.
2:20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honor, and some to dishonor.
Correct understanding of the Word of God is only found when the whole context of Holy Scripture is taken into account on any given topic. Peter and John(Acts 4) had this to say when the religious authority would have chastened them:
4:18 And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.
4:19 But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.
4:20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.
4:21 So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people: for all men glorified God for that which was done.
There is no greater teacher than the Holy Spirit. That is His job! But He will allow you to err in your belief whenever you decide you know enough or have it completely figured out or are willing to believe what men say over what He is leading you toward.
So how much do you really want to know God? How much do you really want to face your sin nature? Picking up your cross is looking at yourself and seeing your iniquity in the light of God’s revelation to you then doing what is right in His eyes.
Paul encouraged people to follow his lead but only in so far as he followed Christ(1st Cor):
10:31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
10:32 Give none offense, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:
10:33 Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.
11:1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
11:2 Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.
Will you pick up your cross and follow Him, or will you walk away sad? Or will you deceive yourself and quench the Spirit at the same time?