The Demands of Discipleship
Paul Tautges has served Immanuel Bible Church in Sheboygan, Wisconsin as pastor since 1992. He is also an adjunct professor of biblical counseling and conference speaker. Paul has authored eight books including Counsel One Another, Comfort Those Who Grieve, The Discipline of Mercy, and Brass Heavens. He is also the editor of the popular Help! discipleship counseling booklet series (24 titles). Paul is a NANC Fellow and a Council Board member of the Biblical Counseling Coalition. He and his wife Karen are the parents of ten children. Paul blogs regularly at counselingoneanother.com.
- 2013 Jun 03
[Today’s post has been graciously provided by Scott Williquette of First Baptist Church of Rockford, Illinois.]
In the Gospels our Savior reveals what it means to be His disciple. In spite of the clarity and force of His words; however, they are often ignored today. The demands of discipleship are tremendous. They are astronomical. Jesus doesn’t want some or most. He wants all. According to Jesus, anything less than all, than everything, is not worthy of Him and places one’s relationship with Him in question.
If you have placed repentant faith in Jesus Christ you are His disciple. You gave yourself to Him in order to be like Him and to please Him. As you read these four passages and their ramifications for daily life, do so prayerfully. Compare your present commitment to Jesus with what He says it ought to be. Dedicate yourself to truly and faithfully following the One who gave Himself for you.
Jesus’ Disciples Renounce Ownership over Their Lives; they Are Dead to All But Jesus.
“Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.’” (Matthew 16:24)
- Since I am called to a life of self-denial and death, I will no longer see my time, abilities, money and possessions as mine. I will reckon all I have as God’s.
- Since I am called to a life of self-denial and death, I will budget my time and energy in such a way that I can significantly serve the Lord in His church and invest myself in those who are in bondage to sin.
- Since I am called to a life of self-denial and death, I will be careful not to waste my time on sinful or earthly things, or on things that have no eternal value.
- Since I am called to a life of self-denial and death, I will live within my means and not live extravagantly.
- Since I am called to a life of self-denial and death, I will give faithfully and sacrificially to the Lord’s work in our church and in mission works around the world.
- Since I am called to a life of self-denial and death, I will teach my children, by example and careful instruction, to give their lives wholly to the Lord.
- Since I am called to a life of self-denial and death, I recognize that my greatest joy on earth will be found in fulfilling that calling.
Jesus’ Disciples Love Him With Unmatched Affection and Passion.
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26-27)
- I cannot be Jesus’ disciple unless pleasing Him is more important than pleasing others, including myself. That means I am constantly asking myself “Is Jesus pleased by this?” “Is Jesus honored by this?”
- I cannot be Jesus’ disciple if I am motivated by the fear of men and if the opinion of others matters more to me than the opinion of God.
- I cannot be Jesus’ disciple unless my love for Jesus so outstrips my other loves that those other loves are tantamount to hatred in comparison.
- I cannot be Jesus’ disciple unless I relish and savor Him more than any earthly being; unless Jesus is the focal point of my spiritual eyes. Such a focus will enable me to love others as Christ loves them.
- I cannot be Jesus’ disciple unless Jesus means more to me than people; unless Jesus’ glory means more to me than the welfare of human beings.
Jesus’ Disciples Sit At His Feet to Learn and Obey His Wisdom.
“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples.’” (John 8:31)
- Because I am Jesus’ disciple, I set myself at His feet each day by prayerfully studying the Scriptures.
- Because I am Jesus’ disciple, I will seek to understand the beauty and wonder of God’s grace as revealed in Scripture; I will ask the Lord to “open my eyes that I may see wonderful things” in His Word.
- Because I am Jesus’ disciple, I will not only listen to Jesus speak through the Word, but will devote myself to heeding His Word and becoming like Him in every area of life. I will keep no part of my life from Him and will indulge in no secret sin.
- Because I am Jesus’ disciple, I resolve to set my family at His feet by means of faithful and meaningful family worship and faithful church attendance and involvement.
- Because I am Jesus’ disciple, I will obey the biblical admonitions to be in the Lord’s House on the Lord’s Day in order to worship Him and be encouraged through the teaching of Scripture. I will devote Sunday to the Lord, to His Church, and to His Word because God established Sunday and local churches to aid in my Christian growth. God designs that my family and I be in His House 52 Sundays a year and apart from significant unforeseen hindrances we will be.
- Because I am Jesus’ disciple and no longer a disciple of Satan and the world, I will no longer listen to the world’s voice, seek the world’s approval, or be driven by the world’s philosophies, priorities and passions.
- Because I am Jesus’ disciple, I expect the world’s disapproval, rejection and mistreatment. As Jesus’ disciple I rejoice when I am treated as my Master was treated.
Jesus’ Disciples Love Each Other and Broadcast Their Commitment to Jesus By Means of That Love.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)
- Because I am Jesus’ disciple, I will foster and express a love for fellow believers that imitates the depth and breadth of Jesus’ love for them.
- Because I am Jesus’ disciple, I will express my love for my brothers and sisters by faithfully praying for them and ministering to them. I will sacrifice my time and resources to care for them.
- Because I am Jesus’ disciple, I will give faithfully to the ministry of our church. By doing so I am expressing love to my Christian brothers and sisters by supporting ministry that is spiritually nourishing to them.
- Because I am Jesus’ disciple, I will reach out to other believers in our family in order to know them, understand them, and serve them.
- Because I am Jesus’ disciple, I will always seek unity, harmony and intimacy with fellow disciples. I will therefore forgive those who sin against me and forbear those with whom I disagree.
- Because I am Jesus’ disciple, my communication with believers will always be edifying and spiritually helpful. I will not engage in gossip, slander or unedifying criticism.
- Because I am Jesus’ disciple, one of my greatest joys is found in ministry to those for whom He died.
May the Spirit of God use the words of Jesus above to increase our love for Him and prod us to live lives of self-denial, submission and service. May Jesus’ name be exalted and fame be spread. May His followers follow Him and by so doing bring Him the glory He deserves.