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DILAPIDATED DISCIPLES

Author Richard Whately spoke truth when he said, "It is the neglect of timely repair that makes rebuilding necessary."  We've all seen the terrible results of neglect. Neglect a house and it slowly but literally falls apart. You don't have to plant weeds to destroy a garden — just neglect it and watch the weeds quickly take over. Neglect a marriage and
it slowly withers and dies. Neglect a child and he/she is damaged in multiple ways which are very difficult to repair.  Neglect a farm and barns crumble and fences fall into disrepair. All that is required is neglect. The worst kind of neglect is pictured in the New Testament book of Hebrews. The inspired man who penned this profound letter is writing to a group of Christians in danger of becoming dilapidated disciples! A scan of the book reveals Christian lives badly in need of repair:

    2:1 —Some were drifting away from Christ and the Gospel through inattention.
    3:7-14 — Some had become hard and unbelieving and were in danger of departing from God.
    5:11-6:6 — Some were dull of hearing, stuck in spiritual baby-hood, and in danger of falling away.
    6:11-12 — Some had become spiritually sluggish and lazy.
    10:25-26 — Some had developed the spiritually suicidal habit of forsaking worship assemblies.

And what was the cause of their dilapidated discipleship? Hebrews 2:3 plainly reveals the termite gnawing away at their Christian lives and threatening their very souls: "How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him?" Did you see it? The problem behind dilapidated, shabby Christian lives is not active hatred of God or practice of evil. Rather, it is neglect — that is, inattention to and not doing of spiritual disciplines such as regular Bible study, prayer, attendance at worship assembles, etc. — the very things required to make and keep a Christian strong. Neglect these things very long and spiritual life begins to disintegrate. The following piece by an unknown author reminds us of the real tragedy of being a dilapidated disciple: "Miss Meant-To had a comrade, And her name is Didn't-Do. Have you ever chanced
to meet them? Did they ever call on you? These two girls now live together In the house of Never-Win. And I'm told that it is haunted By the ghost of Might-Have-Been." Don't try to be a Christian while neglecting the very things required to make you one. If you do, you will be a dilapidated disciple.

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ