So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.
Jesus sought out and chose the twelve disciples, not the other way around (John 15:16). He then told them to “follow me” and that He would make them “fishers of men” (Mark 1:17). The point is that we weren’t the ones who chose Christ; He chose us before the earth even existed (Eph. 1; Rom. 8:29-30). After we are called, He tells all of us to follow Him, but if we truly want to be His disciples, it means that we must deny ourselves and take up our cross (Matt. 16:24). The Greek word for disciple is “mathētēs,” which means “a learner, a pupil” and is where we get the word “discipline.” An academic course in school or a particular field in education is sometimes called a “discipline” because that is what we follow and become a student of. The fact is, we are a disciple of whomever or whatever it is we follow. As for me, I want to follow Him and be a lifelong pupil or student of His, and the textbook for being His disciple is the Bible. To be a disciple of Christ, you must study His textbook–the Bible.
We are the last ones on earth that we typically want to deny. We often don’t want to deny our flesh, our desires, or our passions, but we must give it all up for His sake if we really want to be a disciple of His. Being His disciple means that we must deny what we want and carry our cross for Christ because if we don’t, we can’t even claim to be His disciple (Luke 14:27). Even those who help a fellow Christian or a disciple will not lose their reward (Matt. 10:42). Therefore, being a disciple means we help others who are His disciples, and to be a disciple means that you must be a blessing to other disciples of His because doing it for the least of the brothers and sisters in Christ is the same thing as doing it for Jesus (Matt. 25:40).
Hating the World, Loving God
One of the hardest things about being saved was that my family was not. They didn’t like it when I was changed. I had a decision to make. Would I risk offending my family and losing my personal relationship with them for having one with Christ? Yes, it was clear that I had to love Christ more than all others. Jesus said that in loving Him, it must look like hate in contrast to how we feel about our family (Luke 14:26). Jesus is not saying that we are to hate our family, but if you compared how we are to love Him next to our family, it would look like it. The interesting thing is that many in my family actually do hate me now, at least it looks like that, but they really hate Him in Whom I believe and not really me.
A Closing Prayer
Great God, my Father, I am unworthy to be Jesus’ disciple, but You sought me anyway. Please give me the strength to deny myself, to not love the world or others more than You, and to follow You wherever You would take me, and in the precious name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, I pray.
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