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.
“The self is the one and only thing we own. It is the one thing we brought into the world and it is the one and only thing we will take out of the world, and the one thing we have to live with intimately day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute. So the kind of self you are determines your life happiness or your life hell. Someone has said: ‘The most used word in hell is ‘I.’’ To be centered in your self is to be in hell – now.”
—E. Stanley Jones, Victory Through Surrender
I am super challenged by the Self-Confrontation Bible Study we’re doing right now in School of Discipleship year 2, as well as by Victory Through Surrender by E. Stanley Jones. I know the struggle with myself will always be there – and that’s why I have to keep surrendering myself and my whole life to Jesus.
“Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” —Philippians 1:6
This is one of my favorite verses. I can have confident hope knowing that God will complete the work He started in me!
Working on a speech/presentation for our discipleship class.
I’m excited to be doing School of Discipleship year 2… but instead of returning to snowy Canada, I’ll be staying in Texas! This unexpected change of plans happened just this week, and I miss Tim Horton’s and my Canadian family already. It’s always an adventure to follow wherever God calls and I want to keep trusting Him and His plans for my life, like I’ve been reading in Jeremiah 29:11-13.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” – Jeremiah 29:11-13
So Texas friends, I’ll be seeing you more often!
PS – to find out more about what School of Discipleship Year 2 is… check out my most recent newsletter right here. Also, I’m raising financial support for this year of discipleship. You can support me at www.gfa.org/sd/elch.
Coming home, and coming down with the flu was not part of the plan. Expectations? Shattered.
That’s a little dramatic, but feverish sleep, forced rest, and doing nothing was not what I expected for my Christmas break.
It is an in-between season right now. A year in Canada, 3+ weeks with family in Texas, and then another year in Canada.
My roots have grown down, and people-roots have grown too. They’re pulled up, abruptly but gently – and it is for a greater purpose.
I know that I can trust my Creator, my Saviour, my Grower. His big master plan is more beautiful and magnificent that I can see on this side of the tapestry.
Philippians 1:6 – His work is going on in my life, and He will carry it to completion.
I may not understand the why of this sickness, or the how and what of this in-between season – but I can trust. And that’s what I’ll do.
Jesus is my hope, the anchor for my soul, firm and secure.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow
Praise Him all creatures here below
Praise Him above ye heavenly hosts
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost
And Merry Christmas! This time of slowing down and rest and refocusing is so important, even if this flu forced it on me.
Just like there is a reason behind the seasons God leads my life through, there’s a reason for Christmas. Let’s reflect on the reason for this season… And it’s about Jesus. His first coming, His love, His life. Also is sacrificial death, and the reconciliation we can have with God the Father. He died, and He rose again. That’s why we celebrate Easter in the spring.
And Jesus Christ, our glorious Saviour Messiah, will return again, so very soon. Maranatha, come Lord Jesus! Now, I live my life for Him, through every crazy season that He brings in my life.
Mina lives in a leprosy colony in South Asia. She begs from 4am to 11am every day at a local temple. She is outcast by almost everyone.
But look at her joy.
Meeting Mina, talking with her, hugging her, praying for her — these things I will never forget.
In September/October 2013, I had the privilege and opportunity to travel in South Asia for two weeks as part of my year-long discipleship program (School of Discipleship.) My eyes were opened, my heart was broken, my life was changed.
This is the first, I hope, of many stories that I share from South Asia and how the Lord impacted me there.