In addition to the daily, private feeding on the Word (yesterday’s post), public intake is also necessary for sanctification. The growing disciple is also one who places a high priority on listening to the public reading and preaching of the Word of God. Paul warned Timothy that the last days will be a time when “men will be lovers of self” (2 Tim. 3:2) and, therefore, professing Christians will turn their ears away from sound preaching toward man-centered myths that tickle their ears (2 Tim. 4:1–4). In contrast, faithful followers of Jesus make participation in public worship services a high priority for themselves and their families as they involve themselves in the lives of their local churches. They do not forsake their local assemblies, “as is the habit of some” (Heb. 10:25), but instead they delight in gathering for corporate worship and fellowship so that they may hear the preaching of God’s Word and encourage one another to press on toward becoming like Jesus, whose return they eagerly await. In the event that we lose the feeling of wanting to fellowship with other believers, we must exercise our will’s authority over our emotions. Many times the wanting (desire) comes as a result of the doing (obedience).
Continual progress in discipleship is a lifelong journey toward becoming like the Holy One who called us by His sanctifying grace. However, the self-glorifying sin principle that remains within our bodies demands that we intensively apply personal discipline toward the renewal of our minds, repentance from depraved lusts, and replacement of ungodly habits with the godliness of Christ—into whose image we will one day be fully remade. James Boice writes, “The Christian life is not easy. No responsible person ever said it was. It is a battle all the way. But it is a battle that will be won. And when it is won, we who have triumphed will cast our crowns at the feet of the Lord Jesus Christ, who worked in us to accomplish the victory, and we will praise Him forever.”