DAILY DISCIPLINE #157
By Colleen Donahue

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We start now a new chapter in Matthew and we find it opening with a question the disciples had been discussing amongst themselves. In his wonderful style for object lessons Jesus called a little child to himself and had him sit down. With this bright-eyed little child smiling in their midst, Jesus proceeded to teach his disciples and us about......

 

Our Attitude Towards God and Our Fellowmen

Studies continued from Matthew 18:1-4 (Also Mark 9:33-37, Luke 9:46-48, Luke 22:24-27)

 

Day 1- In starting this new chapter Matthew writes that the disciples simply came to Jesus to ask a question they had been discussing. What was it?
Matthew 18:1
But it is actually Mark and Luke that give us more insight into the disciples' discussion. What were they really doing? And what was the question they were burning to get an answer for?
Mark 9: 33-34 / Luke 9:46

Day 2 - Here we have a clear picture of the ambition of men. The disciples now had almost three years of being together with the Lord. They had all grown and matured. Surely one or a few of them were slated to have top honors in God's kingdom and so they started to argue among themselves. Where does ambition come from?
1 John 2:16
And what does it always lead to?
Luke 22:24 / Proverbs 13:10

Day 3- Disputes and arguing come because of worldly ambition and at the base of the ambition is pride. When we think "we are something", when we consider ourselves religious and without sin, what is the real truth?
Galatians 6:3 / James 1:26 / 1 John 1:8

Day 4- So ambition and pride were the two driving forces behind the disciple's desire to know who was the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven and hoping that it was themselves. Then came the total surprise as Christ's words, along with an object lesson of a child, answered their question. What was Christ's warning to the disciples?
Matthew 18:3
"Unless you turn" or "Unless you change" -- this was a warning to the men closest to Him that they were heading in the wrong direction to get into the kingdom at all!

Day 5- In bringing a child into their company, Jesus was showing them a person who was free, playful, and uninhibited. In fact children have three qualities that make them good examples for all citizens in God's kingdom. Matthew lists the first one.
Matthew 18:4

Day 6- Humility is an attitude we clothe ourselves with that expresses our behavior towards our fellowmen. It is not something we decide to put on and then set about adapting our behavior. It is a virtue that appears quite unknown to you whenever you let Christ have His way in your life. It comes about spontaneously and naturally just like in a child. From these verses can you pick out some of the characteristics of humility?
Luke 14:10 / Luke 22:26 / Romans 12:3 / 1 Peter 5:5

Day 7- There are two other characteristics of children which Matthew doesn't mention directly in words but no doubt Jesus had in mind when he called a child to stand among them. The first is dependence and the second is trust. A child is content to be utterly dependent on his parents (or those who love him) for his needs. He is therefore free to play and enjoy life. He knows his father and mother are working to provide for him. Are you weak enough to depend 100% upon God?
John 3:27 / John 15:5 / 2 Corinthians 3:5

Day 8- It is one thing for a child's parents to have what the child needs and another thing to see that he gets it. So besides being content to be dependent, a child instinctively trusts that his parents will give him what he needs, at the time he needs it. It is rare to see a child fretting as to whether he'll get some dinner that night or if his parents will have a place for him to sleep. So it is with us. We may know that God owns the "cattle on a thousand hills" but do we TRUST that he'll meet our needs and do it on time? What usually gets in the way of our trusting God?
Proverbs 3:5

Day 9- God has special promises for those of us who dare to trust Him. Notice that they are the same things that good parents strive to give their trusting children. They only difference is what God these promises are sure.
2 Samuel 22:3 / Psalm 32:10 / Psalm 34:22 / Psalm 125:1 / Proverbs 29:25 / Isaiah 26:3

In summary:

In summary a humble person has forgotten self in their devotion to Christ and it always results in dependence upon God and full trust in Him.

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