Basics and Fundamentals

In the fast-paced world of the internet, information, and interests, it is easy to feel like one has to know the secret ingredient, at least for that moment, to propel him/her to success and a life of ease.  If he had the latest gadget, the newest wisdom, or the shiniest spotlight, he would out compete his competitors.

Unfortunately, all of this is folly.  Trends are trends and fads are fads.  What lasts are the principles and establishments that have proof of value.  Even people running for political office are leading in the polls at one moment, then the bottom of the heap the next.  Their “policy” or “popularity” only held enough value for a brief time.  For the disciple of Jesus, He is the only value worth pursuing and promoting.

To be effective at pursuing and promoting takes a commitment to restate and re-establish the basics of discipleship.  Hearing from God and seeking understanding of His teachings is the primary process in discipleship.  We can hear from God in a few different ways—the main being through His written Word.

The Grace Naz family will hear this Sunday that the Word of God (the Bible) is the main measuring rod we use to evaluate our success at being a disciple.  Are we living by the commands that God reveals in Scripture, especially those that Jesus proclaimed.  We will discuss some of these commands in the coming weeks.

But for now, how would you answer the question, “How am I doing?”  Of all the commands of Jesus that are recorded by the four writers:  Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, how many of them are you honoring and which ones need some work?  This question does not have to be a condemning or guilt producing question.  It can be an honest question designed to provide you freedom from condemnation and guilt.  What is so difficult about discovering areas that can be improved?  What is so hard about admitting areas of falling short?

A devotional I read recently talks about play dough and how it can harden if one is not diligent in storing it properly.  Similarly, we can pursue being soft play dough in Jesus’ hands, or we can become hard and unpliable…

Most parents have a love-hate relationship with play dough. Sure, it entertains the children. Yes, it encourages them to use their imaginations. Play dough is a fairly inexpensive way to ward off boredom on a rainy day. The play dough experience has its benefits.

It only takes one use, however, to understand the not-so-pleasant side of play dough. One innocent afternoon of children being creative can result in little bits of colored dough being found all over the house for days to come. It’ll be stuck to tables, mashed into carpet, and hidden in toy boxes. Play dough has a way of invading the house.

Yet, the play dough invasion is not the most frustrating part. If not put away properly each and every time, play dough becomes hard. And there is nothing fun about hard play dough. Nothing pretty or useful can be molded from it. It cracks at the first attempt to bend it. The only thing that can be done with hardened play dough is to toss it.

Our hearts need to be like a freshly opened container of play dough in the hands of God. We must be soft and pliable. When we allow ourselves to be molded according to His will, He can make something lovely and useful out of our lives. There’s no limit to what He can do with us.

Disobedience and rebellion, however, will harden a believer’s heart. When we fail to obey God’s will or to spend time in prayer and Bible study, we become as useless as dried-up play dough.

Nelson, Thomas. Devotions from the Front Porch (Devotions from . . .) (p. 124). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. 

Lord, I long to be used by You, Lord. Mold me into Your image and bend my heart toward Your will.
Forgive me for the times when I have hardened my


As has just been said: “Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.”