Jesus called us to do more than say a sinners prayer and rest upon our blessed assurance. He called us to follow Him.
In Luke 9:23, Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”
The call to follow Jesus is the call to an amazing lifelong journey in which you will literally see amazing things.
The life of a disciple is truly a transformational and fascinating experience. Think about it. When we read the Gospels, we often imagine ourselves as one of the disciples, as one who would follow and learn from Jesus.
In fact, there’s an entire TV series dedicated to that idea. The Chosen spends as much time, if not more, exploring the lives of the disciples and their personalities than it does recreating the events of the Bible.
None of us imagine ourselves as just one of the townspeople, Roman soldiers or Pharisees. We tend to imagine ourselves as disciples. That’s where Jesus was. That’s where the action was.
But life for the disciples was not for the faint hearted, and neither is life for disciples today. When Jesus issued this call to discipleship, He clearly set tough expectations. He made it plainly known what we should expect.
In Luke 9:23, we see three steps to discipleship.
1. Discipleship begins with the commitment to follow Jesus. Jesus had just predicted His death, burial and resurrection for our sins according to the scriptures. He then said, “If any will come after me.” Basically, He was saying, “This is where we’re headed.” To follow Jesus meant that you would have to be committed to the cause.
2. Discipleship involves sacrifice. Jesus’ next words were “let him deny himself.” Denying yourself means foregoing current temporary pleasures in order to achieve the greater goal of following Jesus. Sometimes this involves financial or career sacrifice. Sometimes this means discontinuing activities that are not pleasing to the Lord. Either way, there is sacrifice.
3. Discipleship involves following. This means we learn from the Lord and conform our lives accordingly.
Being a disciple means learning from the Lord and growing in your faith. This is an endeavor we have all undertaken. This is a journey that is best taken together.
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