Understanding the Heart of Discipleship

Isaiah 40:1-5

The more we understand God's plan, the easier and quicker it is to make progress.
Isaiah 40:1-5 Clear the way for the LORD


The Lord has a loving plan for each one of us, but this plan or project is not what we usually think of. One might think of a big construction site rather than a sofa with nice pillows. God shapes His people through His Word and circumstances so to create a place for His glory. He indeed does forgive us of our sins, but He is insistent on cleaning our hearts of those sins, whether it be a big mountain or a deep steep valley. God is clearing a way through repentance. God has something much greater to place in our hearts!

Text: Isaiah 40:1-5

"Comfort, O comfort My people," says your God. "Speak kindly to Jerusalem; And call out to her, that her warfare has ended, That her iniquity has been removed, That she has received of the LORD'S hand double for all her sins." A voice is calling, "Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness; Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God. Let every valley be lifted up, And every mountain and hill be made low; And let the rough ground become a plain, And the rugged terrain a broad valley; Then the glory of the LORD will be revealed, And all flesh will see it together; For the mouth of the LORD has spoken." (Isaiah 40:1-5, NASB).

    Overview of Discipleship Journey
    A) True Comfort (Isaiah 4O:1-2)
    B) An Empty Room (Isaiah 40:3-4)
    C) The Lord's Glory (Isaiah 40:5)
Selected Projects
Error Detection


To help us understand the way God disciples His people so that we might work along with Him by making more loyal effective disciples.


Dear Father in Heaven, we have such a narrow view of your training program for our lives. We think that our lives are fully trained after a few difficult sessions, but in fact we hardly see our faults. Please forgive us. Cleanse us. Teach us Your ways. We have pride that needs to be eliminated and wounded areas where we improperly respond in fears, doubts and bitterness. We call out to Thee that Thou would change us more like Christ. May our goal only to be more like Christ even if it means facing these hard shaping times. Thank you for your constant love and that You discipline all those you love. In Christ's Name we pray, Amen.


The LORD in Isaiah 40:1-5 highlights the overall means by which He redeems and uses His people. These three stages perfectly correspond with the three New Testament teachings of Christian living. The Lord justifies, sanctifies and glorifies His people.

These three points, then, form an overall view of the journey of discipleship that our LORD takes His people on. We will first look at the summary chart and then a fuller description below.





A. Finding True Comfort

(Isaiah 4O:1-2)

"Comfort, O comfort My people," says your God. "Speak kindly to Jerusalem; and call out to her, that her warfare has ended, that her iniquity has been removed, that she has received of the LORD'S hand double for all her sins."
(Isaiah 40:1,2).

Justification : A. True Comfort (Isaiah 4O:1-2)

The covenant with God's people stands behind all His works with and through His people. Once God's purpose through discipline is accomplished, it ceases. Here, then, they will find comfort and encouragement.

No matter how difficult the process, we are never to undermine God's work by asking, "Doesn't He love me?" His love is everlasting. God disciplines His children because of His love.

B. Forming an Empty Room

(Isaiah 40:3-4)

"A voice is calling, "Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness; Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God. Let every valley be lifted up, And every mountain and hill be made low; And let the rough ground become a plain, And the rugged terrain a broad valley." "(Isaiah 40:3,4).

Sanctification: B. An Empty Room  (Isaiah 40:3-4)

God's purpose is to make room for Himself. He does this through lifting the valleys and lowering the mountains.

God helps us make room for Him in our lives. This is sanctification - setting us apart for Himself. He does this in two chief ways: (1) He helps us overcome the lack of faith where we have given up hope, and (2) He helps us eliminate different manifestaions of pride and self-confidence.

C. Living for the Glory of the Lord

(Isaiah 40:5)

"Then the glory of the LORD will be revealed, And all flesh will see it together; For the mouth of the LORD has spoken." (Isaiah 40:5).

Glorification : C. The Lord's Glory (Isaiah 40:5)

God only receives glory when His work is made manifest in our lives.

We must strive as our life's goal to bring glory to His Name. This means we allow Him to do His work in and through us the way He desires. This begins now on earth but is perfected in His presence.

A. Finding True Comfort (Isaiah 4O:1-2)

Justification : A. True Comfort (Isaiah 4O:1-2)True forgiveness can be found only in true the true salvation of a person.

True comfort comes from the Lord when His people know that God's judgment has been effectively turned from them. Once His judgment is removed, we then need to learn and remember the great teachings of assurance of salvation, perseverance of the saints, God's everlasting love, election, holiness and adoption into His family.

God declares us righteous through Christ's work on the cross. God has prepared the work necessary for reconciliation. Our faith in Christ and His work effectively applies it. This is what justification by faith means. When we have become God's children, we see that the judgment has been fully placed on Christ thus setting us free to thrive within a wonderful relationship with the Lord.

Isaiah 40:1-2 refers to God's judgment upon His people for their wrong doing. This is a form of His discipline in which He uses difficult circumstances to bring His people back to Himself. This is true with God's covenant in the New Testament too. Without being part of His covenant, there is no discipline. There is no comfort. People listlessly drift along in the world until a final judgment.

Application: A clear understanding of salvation is important or we will waver back and forth under the subjectivity of our feelings our whole lives. When we can interpret our lives from the perspective of God's Word, we then can rightly understand the work of sanctification and glorification in our lives.

B. Forming an Empty Room (Isaiah 40:3-4)

Sanctification: B. An Empty Room  (Isaiah 40:3-4)Every major construction effort requires a lot of planning. Fortunately, God has completed this planning behind the scenes of each of our lives, as local churches, families and individuals. We should realize that the plans are done very carefully in love with the express purpose that we can share in His inheritance. These sanctification plans, though, require a lot of work in our lives and therefore a lot of inconveniences.

The goal is always the same: "Clear the way for the LORD." Jehovah Himself desires to live out His glorious self in our lives. The goal is not to just fill in the valleys and tear down the hills. The long term construction equipment and mess from this work might make us feel this, but it is not. Our lives are being transformed for the purpose of making room for the Lord. In essence then, this step can be summarized by a reshaping of our lives.

God works on two major projects as noted below. After this, there is always a long series of minor work characterized by the first two but on a much smaller scale. This work is never comfortable but always necessary. The goal for all projects will be to let God live out His glory in our lives.

Goal: Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God.

Major Project #1

Major Project #2

Minor Projects

The lack of faith is doubt in God's work and words.
"Let every valley be lifted up"

Misdirected faith is faith in the wrong thing or person!"And every mountain and hill be made low"
Isaiah 40  rough ground become a plain
"And let the rough ground become a plain, and the rugged terrain a broad valley."
The Lord heals our wounds.

These are sins of deficiencies stemming from doubt in God and His good purposes for our lives. Some of these are: worry, stress, fears, indecision, self-hatred, depression, and suicide.

The Lord eliminates our pride.

Self-confidence is the belief that one can manipulate circumstances to gain what we want. Some of the sins of self-confidence are: pride, anger, bitterness, looking down upon, immorality, stealing and lying.

Minor work is always needed. Discipleship is for life. The minor work is characterized by holes and ruts or rocks and obstructions. This rough ground still needs to be worked on as the major projects. God's work on our lives make us smoother and smoother.

Humility of soul and dependence upon God are constantly needed to be God's effective servant.

Before this work is discussed in more detail, we need to understand that we are not spiritualizing these words. Instead we are applying these words to clear New Testament instructions. This theme is more pronounced than most of us realize.

John the Baptist clearly was the voice crying out in the wilderness (Isaiah 40:3). Jesus Christ was the glory of God that was proclaimed. Jesus "manifested His glory, and His disciples believed in Him." (John 2:11). The importance and priority of this work is seen in how Isaiah 40:3 is quoted in each Gospel.

Matthew 3:3

For this is the one referred to by Isaiah the prophet, saying, "THE VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS, 'MAKE READY THE WAY OF THE LORD, MAKE HIS PATHS STRAIGHT!'"




as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, "THE VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS, MAKE READY THE WAY OF THE LORD, MAKE HIS PATHS STRAIGHT."



This prophecy was fulfilled by Christ's coming. God's glory was fully revealed in Christ (cf. John 1:14-18). It was fulfilled in the sense that John the Baptist preached repentance and forgiveness and the people found their ways to the waters of the Jordan seeking baptism. He knew he was not the Way. He only made a way for the Lord.

It is He who comes after me, the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie. (John 1:27).

This is He on behalf of whom I said, 'After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.' (John 1:30).

This goal has not changed. We are to make a way for Christ by preaching the gospel of the kingdom. We are first to be affected by repentance and then call others to be follow Christ. This is exactly what we see in the synoptic gospels. The preparation comes by personally responding to God in our lives and then encouraging others to do so. Let's read the way the synoptic gospels summarize the Great Commission.

And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:18-20).

And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned." (Mark 16:15)

And that repentance for forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. (Luke 24:47)

Like John we are to humble ourselves to God's standards, be baptized and preach the Gospel of repentance. The message of repentance must first affect our own lives. We have to be ready to admit where we have failed and turn to Christ for forgiveness and imitate His life. Remember that this humbling of heart is to be permanent. Many Christians wrongly think humility describes the means one gains salvation rather than also the path upon which all Christians must emulate. Maturity in Christ comes as we regularly and continually recognize our emptiness and make room for Christ to fill our all and all.

John the Baptist preached repentance. This repentance speaks of sins that we need to turn away from. They all hold back God's glorious work in our lives. Forgiveness is available through Christ for all of these sins. There are two specific areas that God targets in a person's life that we must repent from. We might think of them as one time areas of construction, but it seems that God more regularly does bits at a time. Perhaps this has to do more with our ignorance or stubbornness than the preferable way of doing most of it at one time.

The analogy can be applied a bit more clearly even yet. Most large construction jobs require sizeable preparations that will be in place for the whole restoration period. This includes detours, fencing, places to deliver materials, etc. The Christian himself often faces long term adjustments to life such as children, sickness, loss of job or income and other stresses of life. God wants to use this difficulty to help accomplish many of His goals. For instance, a bridge is being rebuilt in our city. They must stage by stage demolish and rebuild the parts of the bridge. The whole work is not seen until it all is completely rebuilt. God might work on our patience, faith and love. He has a greater design. We do not understand His real purposes.

These two areas are related to our faith or belief. This is the same word in the original Greek. Christ in us brings humbling or healing: Two ways to keep us for effective service. Faith and belief are key issues of discipleship that affect us life long.

1) Lifting up the valleys
- Lack of Faith: Healing and Rebuilding of our Trust

God's work of healing precedes the work of humbling. Healing is needed for spiritual wounds that have their source in doubt. Trust or faith must be rebuilt. Many of course fail in this because they rebuild self-confidence rather than God-confidence. This is a curse of our modern educational instruction. We teach everything but how to learn from God. That is ridiculed.

Doubt fills the empty hole of lack of faith just like rain fills an empty hole.Doubts lead to all kinds of fears, stress and anxiety which in turn take a great toll on our bodies. These doubts then rule our lives rather than confidence in Christ. The typical fear or worry has a person scurrying from here to there for some kind of confidence only later to be dashed.

These are the people who have been abused, manipulated, lust-driven, oppressed, addicted or victimized. They have wounds that can lead to complete hopelessness and suicide. These people might have low self-esteem but it is better to say that they have no hope or faith in God. God brings comfort by lifting the valley.

The first step though is repentance. We might feel terrible for these people but they have not put their trust in God. They have given up and evil spirits accompany their unbelief so that their souls feel dark and empty. They are very prone to accusations that they are no good. The modern preacher wrongly suggests that he is good! The scriptures point to repenting from fears and doubts. It is at this point God does a special work of renewal.

God fills in the valley. He rebuilds our hope not in ourselves but in Christ. This condition of low self-esteem is corrected on its own as people get God's perspective of their lives. The gospel is good news for these broken people. Once they can accept their fallenness, they can welcome the Lord into their lives to fill them with His own companionship, acceptance love and hope. The Gospel promises comfort, strength and hope for all our broken aspects of our sin.

Summary: Doubt is the lack of confidence or faith in God. It breeds brokenness by having fears, lusts, desires, situations and people rule over their lives. By confessing their sin and repenting from obedience to these things, they can find forgiveness and freedom in Christ.

2) Removing the Mountains
-Misdirected Faith: Humbling and Redirecting of our Trust

The second major construction work takes place when God takes down the mountains and hills in our lives. Where the first group had a major problem of doubt or lack of faith, these have problems with trust in the wrong thing. They have a misdirected faith. Indeed, we acknowledge that their 'faith' does keep them from the sins mentioned above; they are nevertheless horribly sinful and selfish.

Confidence can be in a number of areas including religion, philosophy, experience or self. In every case pride is associated with this confidence. Their pride gives them the feeling that they are right and do not need to subject what they believe to cross-examination. Pride blinds themselves to certain areas of life and therefore is the opposite of humbling. A humble person admits they were wrong and is very open to God's solution.

Self-confidence is the sin of our modern society and is filled with fame, success, wealth building, degree getting, etc. Those who are famous are not necessarily sinful, but those that are continually drag people's adoration toward themselves and their accomplishments.

The problem is not confidence but mid-directed confidence. God wants us to have confidence or faith in Hiim and His promises. Instead of thinking we can handle problems, we ought to trust God to work out solutions to our problems by simply obeying Him in everything.

He does not delight in the strength of the horse; He does not take pleasure in the legs of a man. The LORD favors those who fear Him, those who wait for His lovingkindness. (Psalms 147:10,11).

The hill has to be flattened out because there is no room for the glory of God as long as man seeks honor for himself. Removing mountains is hard work. Did you every see those earth-moving tractors?! We have a hard time facing our mountains but when we realize that something greater is to come, we are willing to be broken. When we see that our pride has messed up our lives and the lives of others close to us, we seek His presence.

Sancification is loving God and othersThere is plenty of hope for our areas of defeat and healing for our anger and pride. My son once asked when we were traveling the hilly roads of West Virginia, "Why is it that they need bridges in the mountains?" I pointed out the goal. If you are here and you want to travel there,what is the best way? If you do not have a bridge, how are you going to get there? You have to go up and down those steep slopes. Isn't it much better, I explained, that there is a bridge that makes everything flat and smooth?!

There is a third construction. It is not major but minor. However, this minor construction is ongoing. He doesn't speak of deep valleys or deep mountains but things that get in the way. They characterize problems and temptations that we will face throughout our lives. Examples including wasting time and money on self, willingness for interpersonal relationships to be troubled, and plain old laziness. God works on these areas too!

And let the rough ground become a plain, and the rugged terrain a broad valley (Isaiah 40:4b).

Summary: God will be disrupting the lives of His people until Christ returns. This is what He is doing. We need to understand what work He is doing in our lives so that we can work along with Him. Some people because they do not understand this, remain stubborn so their lives need to go through bigger and more troublesome construction. In all of this, we need to carefully distinguish the reason God is doing these things. God has a goal higher than making us feel troubled. This is discussed further in the third point.

C. Living for the Glory of the Lord (Isaiah 40:5)

        Smoothing the Road -Refining our Faith

Then the glory of the LORD will be revealed, And all flesh will see it together; For the mouth of the LORD has spoken. (Isaiah 40:5)

Glorification : C. The Lord's Glory (Isaiah 40:5)The goal of our faith is to bring glory to God. There is clearly no higher call than to glorify His Name by recognizing what He wants and in order to please Him complete it. Construction sites have their purposes and goals. They always have something greater in mind than the project itself. A person might have a building or a road built. They are elated when the project is finished on time and within budget constraints. But they are more eager to see the building or the road to be actually properly used. There is no sense in having an empty building or deserted road!

So it is with God's construction in our lives. We find that the goal of forming a level road is important, but it is not the end goal. The larger end purpose is that the glory of God might be revealed. His revealed presence is what makes all the construction hassles, detours and waits worth it all.

Many people have not at all thought about the purpose God has in mind for their lives. They are thinking what they want of their lives. What a shame they miss out on the fulfillment of their lives! Let's try to better understand this concept of God's glory in our lives from the New Testament.

Through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. (Romans 5:2).

And if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him. (Romans 8:17).

And He did so in order that He might make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory. (Romans 9:23).

To the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be the glory forever. Amen. (Romans 16:27)

God's goals for our lives are life long, but they have immediate implications.

Many other verses share with us the way the glory of God wishes to operate in our lives. He chooses to exert His glory in our humble and broken vessels.

We must then come down from our neatly planned thrones. Allow God to build one that is great for Him. From what I understand, this means our original dreams and visions will need to die in the dirt of time before His more glorious plans can be built. His plans will come into being as we live in humble obedience before Him. In this way, He gets the glory. The more you humble yourselves, the more room you make for Him. If you want to keep pushing your way, your knowledge, your experience, your wealth, your abilities, then you will have yourself. Not much glory there. Man's glory is nothing (Isaiah 40:6-8). We are like a withering piece of grass there for a day. But if we can gain an eternal glory in these frail vessels, then we will be forever awed.

"Everyone who is called by My name, And whom I have created for My glory, Whom I have formed, even whom I have made." (Isaiah 43:7, NASB).

I have chosen to deny myself. I choose to work myself hard in denying myself and seeking God's presence in my life. I have no greater good to work for than to have God live in me. There are costs but by His abundant graciousness, I will bear them.

But think a moment. If we can trade in that which has little or no value for that which is eternal and glorious, will you do it? When we fix these goals clear in our heart, God will work with us in yet a more special way. He is looking for that man to stand in the gap. He is looking for that man who will live uprightly. Will you be that man?

For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His. You have acted foolishly in this. Indeed, from now on you will surely have wars. (2 Chronicles 16:9).

Selected Projects

Week Study: "Creating a Heart of Discipleship"


Increase your participation in His sanctification of your life.


By consciously examining our 'mountains' and 'valleys,' we in fact enable us to get rid of many past sins that we would otherwise be unaware of.


Preparation #1

Study Exodus 20:5-6. Note the relationship between the sins of the parents and the sins of the children. These are called by some as 'generational sins.' The biggest problem with these sins is that because of familiarity, we cannot easily discover them. We have already developed a set of thinking that disguises these sins. Can you trace the sins of your family? Be specific. We are not only looking for obvious sins like lying but subtle evil responses such as how the parents did not rightly relate to each other.

Preparation #2

We want to make a list of our own sins. We will be making two lists. Re-read section B. The Empty Room above. Each grouping will have its own list: 1) lack of faith and 2) misdirected faith.

1) Doubt - List all the sins and sinful actions that stem from a lack of faith. The rain fills the empty hole and so when faith is not properly in place, other things rule their lives. What areas of doubt run in your life? Be specific? Do you see traces of this in your family? How so? Check off the ones that seem somewhat relevant to your own life.

2) Idols - List all the sins and sinful actions that stem from a misdirected faith, that is, you have confidence in. Like the mountain these sins of pride must be taken down through repentance. Do you see traces of this in your family? How so? Check off the ones that seem somewhat relevant to your own life.

Sins from Doubt - Lack of Faith

These are sins of deficiencies stemming from doubt in God and His good purposes for our lives.

Sins from Misdirected faith

Self-confidence is the belief that one can manipulate circumstances to gain what we want.

Worry is the absence of trust in God to care for ones needs. Anxiety is similiar but focuses more on the trouble inside one. - Opposite is trust Pride is the spirit of confidence in something or someone other than ones Maker. - Opposite is humility
Fear is the lack of confidence in the way future circumstances, things or people might ruin ones life. Opposite - Faith Bitterness comes from the arrogant spirit in which one is confident that one has the duty and ability to rightly carry out judgment upon another.

Opposite - forgiving spirits

Self-hatred is the distrust that any good thing can, will, or should come to ones life. Anger builds its intensity on the confidence of ones right and ability to control people and circumstances the way they want it. - Opposite: gentleness

Indecision is the lack of confidence that one can or needs to make the right decision about some matter.

Oppossite - decisive

Self-reliance is the confidence that oneself can handle any kind of circumstance in such a way that one comes out well.
Stress is the confused state coming from the inability to resolve some situation. Despising or looking down upon others is built upon the confidence that oneself is better than others and therefore deserves better treatment.
Depression comes from the lack of hope that ones situation can get better. Immorality stems from the confidence that ones fleshly desires need to be satisfied even at the cost of hurting others for selfish needs or rebelling against God's ways.
Suicidal is a state in which one has completely given up hope for improving ones circumstances. Stealing comes from the confidence that ones needs is to be fulfilled even at the lost of another.
Addictive behaviors, sexual or otherwise, a person gives up hope that anything can be improved for the better. They succumb to what has and lets it rule present and future decisions. Lying stems from the foolish confidence that one can manipulate others with false and deceiving words to fulfill his own purposes.
False worship is the serving of things or persons other than God the Creator for the welfare of ones life.
Gambling comes from the confidence that one can and ought to deserve more than one has worked for at the risk of something or someone.
Hatred comes from the arrogant spirit that believes one has a right to hurt others.
Laziness comes from the arrogant spirit that one does not need to work for ones food.

Preparation #3

Each day this week, choose one or two special areas of sin that God wants to work on. We want the Lord to break their hold on our lives. It is through repentance that one breaks oneself from these sins. What steps do we need to take so that our children do not suffer from these generational sins? Remember during repentance, we are not only turning away from what is wrong but turning to what is right, good and lovely!

Daily Study: 1 John 2:12-14

Memorize and reflect on these three stages that are identified here in 1 John 2:12-14. See the study on this passage for further study and reflection on this passage. Describe the way the verses are organized. Why is this so? Then analyze the content and write out a summary of the three stages John introduces. How might this be associated with what we observe in Isaiah 40:1-5?

Daily Study: John 1:12-13

Draw a simply diagram of the sentences of John 1:12-13. Meditate on these verses.

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:12,13, NASB).

What do these verses say? What do they not say? Reflect on these verses as you think about how they relate to your own life. Write out your personal testimony of how God worked in your life and brought you into His family. Use about 2-3 pages. God's sanctification process starts when we become His children. Discipleship describes the process where we put off wrong thinking and behavior because we adopt Christ-like thinking and ways.

Daily Study: Chastisement in Hebrews 12 (Pruning in John 15)

Study the important concepts of discipline found in Hebrews 12. Write down the principles.

The more we can humble our hearts, the easier to go through God's discipleship program. How do you respond to God's discipline? Do you think thoughts of rejection when you face hard times? "God doesn't really love me. If He loved me, then He wouldn't do this." Think back on how your parents treated you. Did they discipline you? Did they threaten to abandon you? Our understanding of God is often shaped by the way we thought about our parents' actions toward us when young.

Did you parents consistently discipline in love? Give examples of when they did or did not. Why is it hard to discipline a child? What truth of God do you need to use to help you go beyond your feelings that will keep you from providing loving discipline to your children?

Daily Study: 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:16 Chipping away at the Mountain

There are two kinds of pride that have ruled over the milleniums. The apostle mentioned them in 1 Corinthians. They are linked up with cultural thought. Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:22-23 summarizes the two perspectives.

For indeed Jews ask for signs, and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block, and to Gentiles foolishness, (1 Corinthians 1:22,23).

In the East, people have a greater reliance on show or miracles. In this case the Jews represent this group. But there were many Hellenists who were Jews but with a Greek education. They had pride of knowledge or wisdom. Names have and methodology and lots of cross cultural breeding has changed but still the problems are the same. These thoughts highlight the way these things get in the way of God doing His greatest work through our lives. 1 Corinthians 1:27 says,

"But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong." (1 Corinthians 1:27).

Determine in your own heart that you want a ministry of revealing Christ in His wonder to others rather than knowledge and wisdom which only add to our pride. Ask the Lord to reveal more of His glory to you that you will never need to seek other things.

Daily Study: 2 Chronicles 14-16

Learn how King Asa at first trusted God and then later trusted his own resources. What was the result?

Daily Study: Hebrews 11:1-3 Study of Faith

Our lives are perfected in biblical faith, that is, a faith in the Lord's care and watch over us. Faith includes a sense of trust in Him as in contrast to our self-asserting pride which proves itself.

Daily Study: Psalm 8 Experiencing the Glory of God

Learn about glory of God and the proper place for self-esteem.


  • Our understanding of our salvation greatly shapes how we respond to God's discipline.
  • True repentance is not the wish to change but the actual changing from our past.
  • The process of discipleship is ongoing because we need to regularly humble ourselves.
  • Healing comes for sins of doubt by first repenting and being accountable for our lack of faith.
  • Humbling comes for the sins of self-confidence by first repenting and being accountable for our misdirected faith.
  • The purpose of all the hard shaping of our lives is for the ultimate fulfillment of our lives through the presence of God's glory.
  • God's greatest purposes will be fulfilled in our lives only as we consistently and continually live humbly before Him.

Error Detection Corner

Discipline is often misunderstood.

A Christian will not go far into his or her Christian life without meeting up with God's discipline. A mistaken notion that many Christians have is to think that if God loves him, then God will not judge or discipline them. We have ample evidence of the contrary (cf. Revelation 2-3) and clear teaching from Hebrews 12 that says that if God loves us, He will certainly discipline us. The covenant love of God promises discipline. The discipline is given in a secure relationship established by God's promise. Parental love similarly is based on a secure unchanging relationship. Once in the family, always in the family. Discipline shows that parents care about the child's genuine welfare. Correction protects the child and helps the child. God goes on to say that if this discipline is absence, then there is no real love for the child.

Salvation is often misunderstood.

Many think a person is a Christian just because he attends a church or associates himself with CHristian people. This would be like a neighborhood child thinking he is part of my family just because he hangs around with my children! Salvation is by faith in Christ where God does a deep work of change. This change shows repentance. Some might debate that children are not bad enough to know of their sins. This is not true. The true problem is that all people, children included, are not aware of their sins if they are not instructed that what they do is sinful.

Salvation comes by a repentance process: the Spirit convicts our hearts of our wrong, we want to stop doing what is wrong, we fear His judgment, we look for help (i.e. salvation), and we find forgiveness by Christ's work on the cross by believing. Discipleship will help show us the right way of living.

Those people who think salvation comes by works, ritual, association or by birth, will never understand that faith is an active step rather than a passive one. It is not simply a statement of faith but a real belief that changes the way we come to God. If a person is a false believer, God will not chastize them. They have no special sensitivity to sin or God's work in their lives. They might be religious but not be in God's covenant of love.

Have you been born again into God's family? On what basis do you call yourself a Christian? Write down your testimony and detail any work of the process of repentance that you remember. What in your life gives evidence that you now hate sin? What do you think about this statement, "If a person does not understand the need for discipline, then he has a poor understanding of salvation?"

B. An Empty Room (Isaiah 40:3-4)

Repentance is rarely mentioned, and where it is, it still is not practiced! It is so difficult for us to repent! Our error consists in equivocating the desire to repent with repentance. I can remember several people I was counseling to say in prayer that they want to repent. I had to interrupt what seemed a big step and tell them it was not right. God didn't say to tell Him you wanted to repent but actually repent! Don't say to Him, "I want to repent," but "I have repented from ...."

C. The Lord's Glory (Isaiah 40:5)

The church has a love affair with itself and its accomplishments rather than with the Lord. She seeks her own glory through her own wealth and means rather than seeking the Lord's glory. Building programs, discipleship programs, great organizations all tend to build up themselves rather than humbling living for the Lord's glory.

Questions for Transformation

A. True Comfort (Isaiah 4O:1-2)

"Comfort, O comfort My people,? says your God. Speak kindly to Jerusalem; and call out to her, that her warfare has ended, that her iniquity has been removed, that she has received of the LORD'S hand double for all her sins."

What words are Isaiah told to tell to His people? In what frame of heart is he to speak them? Three times the word 'that' or 'because' is used in Isaiah 40:2. These are the three reasons he is told to say what he is suppose to say. What are the three reasons for this promised comfort?

Explain each of these three reasons. Remember that Isaiah is in true prophetic style stating that the words from Isaiah 39 will come true but as it happens, His people will realize it has a purpose and a time limit. In other words God is watching over them. Apply this to the discipline God conducts with His people in the New Testament. Give verses to support your view. Again apply this to the discipline given by a parent. Give verses to support your views.

The word 'salvation' refers to both the time when we are rescued from the world into God's covenant people, but also as His people when we are rescued from difficult times we were facing. What is true in these verses? How does this relate to the way God deals with you?

B. An Empty Room (Isaiah 40:3-4)

A voice is calling, "Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness; Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God. Let every valley be lifted up, And every mountain and hill be made low; And let the rough ground become a plain, And the rugged terrain a broad valley.
(Isaiah 40:3,4).

Who do you suppose it is calling out? What does the voice cry out? What is the purpose for all this major construction? In what ways does he make the way clear for the Lord? Where else is this mentioned in scripture? How does the above description describe these three major works? Can you think of any other way to describe them? If so, write them down and support them with scripture.

What is true repentance?

C. The Lord's Glory (Isaiah 40:5)

Then the glory of the LORD will be revealed, And all flesh will see it together; For the mouth of the LORD has spoken. (Isaiah 40:5).

What happens as a result of clearing the way for the LORD? What will be revealed? What does this mean? Does God desire that His glory be shone? Do you think that the Lord will make sure this spiritual principle always works out? Can you trust Him during your broken times for a closer experience with Him? What is your purpose in life? How much do you want His glory in your life? What might He do through your life if His glory shines?

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Biblical Foundations for Freedom

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