PART 27 – HEART AND SOUL (6/2/20)
“Do all that you have in mind,” his armour-bearer said. “Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul.” (1 Samuel 14:7)
Leadership and following are biblical
The account of Jonathan and his armour bearer teach us a lot about leading, following and the victory that comes when we have healthy authority and submission.
There are a few interesting phrases in this text that speak of strong leadership:
'Jonathan said to his young armour-bearer, “Come, let’s go' (1 Samuel 14:6)
'Jonathan said, “Come on, then; we will cross over toward them and let them see us. If they say to us...' (1 Samuel 14:8)
'Jonathan said to his armour-bearer, “Climb up after me..."' (1 Samuel 14:12)
'Jonathan climbed up, using his hands and feet, with his armour-bearer right behind him...' (1 Samuel 14:13)
Who is prepared to say to someone else, "Go ahead, I am with you"? Submission to God and the authorities that He puts in place are a vital part of the Christian life. Following Jesus involves following human leaders in different forms. If you don't know who you are following, you are missing out on an aspect of God's will for you. Even in writing this, I'm aware of how counter-cultural what I'm saying is. We are democratic in almost everything and so can find biblical teaching on leadership a challenge. For example, we read,
“Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you. Pray for us. We are sure that we have a clear conscience and desire to live honourably in every way.” (Hebrews 13:17-18)
'Have confidence' can also be translated as 'Be persuaded'. This is not a command to obey without question - of course, one should talk to leaders about concerns (and encouragements!). Having confidence or being persuaded by our leaders is having an inclination to give them the benefit of the doubt. If we only follow when things are done as we would prefer; if we are confrontational or complaining if things don't completely suit us... we are failing to have the kind of attitude commended by God.
This 'young armour bearer' placed his confidence in Jonathan, and chose to be persuaded by him.
Submit to their authority
Submit to their authority means to 'yield'. This is having a willingness to follow another's lead. I hasten to add that our submission is, firstly, to Jesus. This means that we never submit or yield to any human authority that contradicts biblical truth. However, in my experience, most conflicts are not over biblical truth but the manner in which it is applied. For example, we all agree that Worshipping Jesus should be a key feature when the church gathers; however, the style of music, how we make space for contributions, what we wear, decoration of the room, how long one preaches... are the kinds of things over which people dispute.
Can I also add that church membership is about following the eldership team of that church - God has put them in authority over you; we should not be in a church (the context of this text) in which we don't trust those who are in authority over us.
The 'young armour bearer' submitted to Jonathan's leadership. He said, "Go ahead; I am with you..." And he not only said it (let's also use words) but he also did it - He followed his leader.
Pray for your leaders
We are also told to pray for our leaders. Pray for the elders and leaders of different ministries. Demonic powers are at work to bring division between leaders and those they lead; these powers are also at work to tempt them into sin and unbelief - so pray for your leaders. Pray that they would be the kind of people that God would want them to be. Paul writes,
'Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel.' (Ephesians 6:19)
Make their work will be a joy, not a burden
If we are to follow our leaders as God would want us to, we must learn to love them. When we love anyone, it's natural that we desire that they experience joy, and we try to lift their burdens in any way that we can.
I imagine that Jonathan was greatly encouraged, and his burden was lifted, when his young armour bearer said, "Do all that you have in mind...Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul.”
I am with you heart and soul
Are you heart and soul together as a team in your local church? We know that any sports team, no matter how good the individual players, will only be as successful as their team-spirit and willingness to follow the lead of the manager and captain. If this is so, how much more important is it that we seek to be united 'heart and soul' in the local church! This is not a just a game, the glory of God and the salvation of souls is at stake!
Only if we will work ‘heart and soul’ together, can we see renewal and the kind of victory that we would all love to see.
The text that we are memorising this week is written, specifically, to encourage Timothy an elder in a local church. Paul is encouraging him, as a church leader to 'fan into flame' his gifts, and to be empowered by the Spirit because leadership is tough. To leaders, God encourages you not to be timid but to be filled with the Spirit so as to have 'power, love and self-discipline'.
However, it's not just leaders who need to 'fan into flame' their gifts and rely on the Spirit's power - 'armour bearers', your leaders need you at your best, and you will be at your best as you are filled with the Spirit and 'fan into flame' the gifts that He has given you.
TIPS ON MEMORISING SCRIPTURE
We will only do this, and persevere in doing this, if we believe that it's truly important to hide God's word in our heart. So get faith!
Don't disqualify yourself if it's hard - it is hard!
Write the text somewhere that's easy to find and use
Include the reference throughout the process
Read it slowly and carefully x 10 (Don't rush or dismiss this accurate repetition)
Recall it, without looking as much as possible x10
Do this a few times through the day
Revise regularly (and revise previously memorised verses)
Make it a habit to learn new verses - skill comes over time
USE IT! Actively use it to pray, worship, counsel, prophecy, and counter temptation and lies by quoting truth - it’s the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17).
TIPS ON BIBLICAL MEDITATION
Biblical meditation is to prayerfully read, repeatedly, a section of the bible and pray, worship and respond as God leads. Here are a few tips and questions to help you when meditating:
PRAY - Ask for the Spirit to help you and to speak to you. Keep the goal in mind - having a relationship with God!
WRITING- Writing/journaling is often a great help as you answer the questions below. Remember, don't allow worry about spelling, punctuation, grammar, perfection... stop you from writing - it's between you and God.
GOSPEL- What does this text say about salvation through Jesus?
UP- What does this text say about God – His worth, character, attributes, will, promises…?
IN- What does this text say about you, the church and how we are to relate?
OUT- What does this text say about non-believers and our mission?
RESPONSE – Is there anything you want to pray, worship God about, do, ask forgiveness about, ask God to help you to change…?
COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY
(FOR THE WEEK OF 3/3/20)
Introduction (Please read this intro to the group)
This week, in our devotionals, we have been looking at the account of David and his armour bearer achieving a great victory against all the odds. It's a story that teaches us about Faith, leadership, following and listening to God. The Father has good works for us to achieve together. Allow this story to inspire you to expect God to speak to you, and lead you into His good works.
Please read and discuss 1 Samuel 14:6-7.
'Jonathan said to his young armour-bearer, “Come, let’s go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised men. Perhaps the Lord will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few.” “Do all that you have in mind,” his armour-bearer said. “Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul.”'
Jonathan is encouraging his 'young armour-bearer'. Why is it important to mentor younger Christians and are you looking out for people that God wants you to help to train?
According to this text, what can hinder the Lord from saving? (We should take 'saving' as referring the broadest range of categories in which we desire God to change things).
What other texts might you use to encourage someone who was doubting God's abilities?
Perhaps the verse we memorised a few week's ago would help - read Psalm 56:3-4
What are the kinds of things that cause us to think that God cannot save or act on our behalf?
Is there anything in which you are desiring to see victory?
How does this text encourage us to take more daring action, and into what do you think God might be calling you?
What does 2 Timothy 1:7 say about how the Holy Spirit will help us to act like Jonathan and his armour bearer?
NOTE - Please ensure that everyone knows where to find the devotionals (our blog). Encourage the members of your group to use it and to memorise 2 Timothy 1:7 this week.
Please pray for our Community Group ministry. We need to multiply groups and, therefore, need loads more leaders. Like Jonathan and his armour bearer, more of us need to be prepared to lead. Please pray for the multiplication of this vital area of church-life.
Please look at the church news together.