In the Great Commission, Jesus commanded us to go and make disciples. Before we can do that, we must first be disciples… hence the School of Discipleship! It doesn’t stop with me learning how to be a disciple, though – I must go and make disciples of others. True Discipleship by William MacDonald is a radical challenge for followers of Christ. Will we be more than just fans or followers? Will we be committed, sold-out disciples?
An area the Lord has been growing me in is counting the cost of being a disciple. Being a disciple means not just having a warm emotion of following Jesus, but consistently dying to myself and daily taking up the cross.
One day in the bathroom I have a small revelation – following Jesus won’t ever be easy, but it is so worth it! When Jesus called the twelve disciples to follow Him, He didn’t promise them ease or comfort; He promised pain, persecution, and suffering. Being a disciple will be hard, but it is worth every heartache, every inconvenience. Following Jesus is worth everything. A quote from True Discipleship really fits here: “…the Christian life deserves everything or nothing.”
God gave me Ephesians 4:1 tonight, as I was praying and seeking God’s calling on my life. “…I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.”
Over the past several months, God has asked me, will I follow Him no matter what? As I prayed and searched my heart and sought God’s face, I found that my answer is Yes, absolutely. I want to be wholly committed to Christ, no matter what.
Pastor Danny has encouraged me to count the cost of following Jesus as I think about the different options before me in the future. Following God’s call on my life might mean giving up my home, my family, my dreams for the future, my photography. Will I be willing to give those things up and just have Jesus for my everything?
Being in Canada, doing School of Discipleship, being away from my home and family and what is familiar hasn’t been easy – but it is so worth it. Dying to myself, daily choosing to follow Jesus first, and being a disciple of Jesus Christ are all things that I am learning to do as I follow the Lord.
Counting the cost also means coming to a point of decision. I can’t say I have arrived at the goal or achieved the prize, but I have counted the cost and I say yes, I will follow Jesus no matter what.
In the recent past I had a very hard few weeks, when my grandma was sick and maybe dying, Auntie Jacie was fading from the cancer, and my best friend Emily would be moving to New Zealand for a year. I didn’t want to stay here. I wanted to give up and go home. But God really spoke to me through a song that was just randomly playing while I washed dishes one night – Today by Brian Doerkson. “Today I choose to follow you. Today I choose to give my yes to you.” I was reminded that God had called me to be here in Canada at this time, and I still needed to follow Him, trust Him, and give my yes to Him.
song lyrics by Rend Collective, “The Cost”
“I’m saying yes to You
And no to my desires
I’ll leave myself behind
And follow You
I’ll walk the narrow road
’cause it leads me to You
I’ll fall but grace
Will pick me up again
I’ve counted up the cost
Oh I’ve counted up the cost
Yes I’ve counted up the cost
And You are worth it”
If I choose to follow Jesus, it means He needs to be first in my life in everything. First place in my priorities, how I spend my time. Jesus must be on the throne of my heart, not myself or anything else. And that means that I must forsake all else but Him. I must give up my dreams, wishes, talents, money, family, and time. None of these things can be priority. I need to surrender all those things, and seek Him first. And that’s one area that the Lord is still growing me in – forsaking all but Jesus.
If I say, “Today I choose to follow you” – that means I need to follow Him first and only.
Jesus said, “He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it.” He repeated that over and over – in Matthew 10:39, Matthew 16:25, Mark 8:35, Luke 9:24, Luke 17:33, and John 12:25 – because it is so important.
William MacDonald says in True Discipleship “… life hugged for self is life lost, but life poured out for him is found, saved, enjoyed, and kept for eternity…”
Holding on to my dreams, my desires, and my possessions will never result in a fulfilled life. But a life forsaken to Jesus – that is where it’s at!
A true disciple is a bondslave to Jesus. Do you think a bondslave has anything he is holding on to for himself? No – he has forsaken everything. And I, as a bondslave to my master Jesus Christ, must give up everything to be His disciple.
“In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.” When Jesus said that in Luke 14:33, He meant it! Not just that we should give up everything, or that it might be a good idea – we must forsake all or we cannot be His disciples.
When it comes to forsaking all and being a disciple, it means forsaking more than just money. All those things I listed above – dreams, talents, possessions, desires, and family – ALL must be given to Jesus.
I want Jesus to be my strength, my security, and my everything. He redeemed me, and now I’m not my own. It is only right that Jesus be first place in my life!
What the Lord has been teaching me about being a disciple isn’t quite cut and dried where it fits exactly into one category or chapter. But what He has been teaching me is that Jesus must be first place in my life.
Following Jesus won’t be easy, but it is worth it.
This post was a written assignment for the True Discipleship class in School of Discipleship year one, originally written in August 2013.