Jeremy Sarber

Discipleship only begins in the heart

According to Ephesians 3, the process of shaping our lives begins in the inner being. Paul said:

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:14-19)

It all begins in the heart before working its way out. If the gospel of Jesus Christ doesn’t resonate in the heart, then our works will fall short. Jesus said of the Pharisees, This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me” (Mt 15:8). They were following the law and had performed a lifetime of religious activities, but it was all in vain because they didn’t know Christ. That’s not to say the law was unprofitable, but without a genuine heart of faith, it was little more than bodily exercise, as the KJV puts it (1Ti 4:8). They were merely going through the motions of worship.

Of course, discipleship doesn’t stop at the heart. Eventually, the rubber needs to meet the road. The strength which the Spirit gives our hearts should manifest itself through action. In particular, Paul emphasizes love. The Spirit strengthens the inner man so that we can be rooted and grounded in love (Eph 3:17). What does that mean? Read Ephesians 4. According to Paul, love is central to our Christian calling.