It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God.  And when day came, He called His disciples to Him and chose twelve of them, whom He also named as apostles ….  (Luke 6:12-13)

If you are a member of a local church, what did you have to do to become one? Some churches do not even have a membership.  But most do; and those that do usually expect the person to know the answers to some questions … then (perhaps) to be baptized or participate in a certain ceremony … and then, to be officially recognized by the leadership as a member of the church.

I have found that having my name added to a church roll has never been all that difficult.  Of course, to be an active member requires a certain investment of time and effort and money.  But not once has church leadership ever placed upon me their expectation to

“know the power of (Christ’s) resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings …”

In fact, I don’t think I have ever been challenged by a youth leader or an elder or a deacon to

“… (be) conformed to (Jesus’) death in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.”  (Philippians 3:10-11)

But Christ has.  He has issued that challenge.  When the Master says “Follow Me,“ He is not merely inviting us to sing in the choir or serve on the Finance Committee or place 10% of our income in an offering plate.  There is more to this summons than “Be active in your local church.”  He is calling us to crucify, to kill, to put to death – daily – our own self-centered ambitions that we might submit our lives to the will of the Father.  To be a Christ-follower means a lot more than being willing to die for Him.  It means dying to self, allowing ourselves to be pierced through … every day … with the nails of His will for our life.

Luke chapter 6 gives us a snapshot of this powerful, painful, joyful, costly relationship with Christ Jesus.  Here, the Master describes the character of His disciple as one

  • who is aware of his own spiritual impoverishment. Knowing that he is “poor” in righteousness, he clings to the mercy of God (vs. 20, see Luke 18:13)
  • who craves the righteousness of God, available only through faith in Christ (vs. 21, see Philippians 3:7-9)
  • who grieves over his sins [seeking to turn his back on them] (vs. 21)
  • who is persecuted by the worldly because of his holy relationship with Christ (vs. 22-23)

We are also told that the Master expects the service of His disciple to be sacrificial, treating others as he would want them to treat him (vs. 31)

  • providing what is in the best interest of others, even his enemies (vss. 27-28, 30, 32, 35)
  • forgiving those who have wronged him [leaving justice in the hands of God] (vs. 29-30, 37, see Romans 12:19)
  • meeting the needs of others [who cannot meet their own needs and, therefore, will not be able to repay him] (vss. 30, 33-35, 38)
  • showing kindness and mercy to those who are ungrateful and wicked (vss. 35-36)

Being a dedicated church member is one thing.  (And it is a good thing.)  But being a dead-serious disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ is something more.  There is a price to pay; and the price is high.  To follow Jesus, one must execute his own self-centered interests and submit his will to the will of his Master.  When Jesus calls someone to be His disciple, the weight of that summons is nothing less than this:

“Come and die with Me.”

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2 thoughts on “

    1. Tanisha, I am finding these blogs on discipleship to be convicting and sobering as I compare my walk with Christ to the Bible’s description of what it means to follow Him. Thank you for your strengthening and encouraging words. All praise be to our living and true God, the Lord Jesus Christ.

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