Last week we began a discussion on the idea of discipleship. Charles Stanley defines a disciple as “A learner; one who follows the teachings of another. A disciple of Christ has accepted Him as Savior, yielded to Him as Lord, and received Him as one’s very life.” A disciple is someone who can say, “it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).
Jesus was very direct in His comments on this topic. He states clearly in (Luke 14:25 – 35) what is required of one who desires to be His disciple:
1. Our loyalty, love, and devotion to Christ must supersede our love for everyone else. “If anyone come to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brother and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple” (v. 26). Christ is not advocating that we should hate our family members. He’s making a contrast between degrees of love. To be Christ’s disciple, our obedience to Him takes priority over what our loved one may expect or desire.
Throughout history, Christians have had to make hard choices in order to follow Christ, and we may be required to do the same. Sometimes our choices will look ridiculous to those around us, but disciples must be committed to obedience to Christ no matter what the consequences might be.
2. Death to self is a critical condition for discipleship. “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple” (v. 27). Sometimes we think our cross is an illness, problem. or heartache we must bear, but that’s not what Jesus meant. The cross was an instrument of execution that resulted in death.
Stanley comments, “Sometimes believers must die in order to stay true to Christ, but most of us will probably not be called to a sacrifice so extreme. However, every disciple must undergo the death of the self-life. We are no longer to live as we did before salvation. Instead of being attached to our former sins and lifestyles, we are to attach ourselves completely to Christ. We must be available to obey Him in whatever He calls us to do and in whatever He says are are to surrender. Any time we put qualifiers on our obedience, we are not acting like Christ’s disciple.” That’s good isn’t it!
Although we will consider two more requirements of discipleship next week, I wanted to encourage you to consider if there is and area of your life that you have not surrendered in obedience to Christ. To be an effective Disciple of Christ is a stream of INTENTIONAL moment by moment choices.