Are You a Disciple?
I heard a pastor once say, "Salvation is free but to be a disciple will cost you." This is true. I can attest to this myself.
Many years ago I heard a pastor preach a powerful sermon entitled "Discipleship". It convicted me at my core and I knew in that moment that it was my duty out of love for Jesus Christ to submit myself to him as a disciple. This was not a light thing. I went into this knowing that it would cost me dearly. This turned out to be true during the more than thirty years since.
I know that I have failed Jesus Christ many times since and sometimes grievously so. In my morning prayers today I had to confess to God that I had not followed him diligently yesterday. A disciple is not perfect but a disciple is a person who has decided that it is only reasonable to give Christ their entire life as a living sacrifice because of what he did for them. Being a disciple means to follow his will as revealed in his word regardless of the cost. It means to begin a journey not knowing quite where it will lead in this life or what specific difficulties will arise along the way - but that the One who leads will never fail you. It means accepting what God reveals to you in his word at each step and being willing to follow it regardless of how contrary it is to your nature or how much ridicule it will bring from others. It means purging out the worldliness that is an enemy of the soul. It means rejecting "pop Christianity" (which is really most of what is called Christianity today) and being willing to take an unpopular path.
Jesus made the following black-and-white statements regarding discipleship in Luke 14:25-35. It's important to understand that the word "hate" in verse 26 means "to love less" in this context - A lot less as a matter of fact.
25. And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them,
26. If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
27. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
28. For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?
29. Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him,
30. Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.
31. Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?
32. Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.
33. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.
34. Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned?
35. It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
Multitudes followed Christ in the earlier times of his ministry, but fewer and fewer followed him as he got closer to the cross. Many Christians begin the Christian life with zeal but fizzle out later on.
When a man "bore his cross" he was on his way to die and knew that there was no turning back. A disciple must be willing to die to self.
Only a fool starts to build without first determining if he has enough assets to complete the project. None of us have the spiritual "assets" to be a disciple unless we draw upon God's revenues.
The ability of this sinful world to make war upon the spiritual life of a disciple is greater than his earthly ability to resist, but a disciple depends upon God's ability and refuses to make peace with this world.
What price have I paid for being a disciple?
The loss of friends.
The misunderstanding of family members.
The rejection by pastors and church members.
The ridicule of fellow Christians.
Spiritual heartbreak and pain.
The loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars if not more.
Life is short. Discipleship requires a departure from the crowd and it will cost you. But God gives his disciples precious things in this lifetime that are worth much more than that which is lost. We can not even imagine that which God has prepared for his disciples when time ultimately gives way to eternity.
What about you....
Are You a Disciple?