by Pastor Greg Laurie
Discipleship's Important Distinction
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. . . ." (Matthew 28:19)
What does it mean to be a disciple? Certainly we need to know the answer to that question. After all, Jesus told us to "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations. . . ." But how can we make disciples if we are not disciples ourselves? Are the qualifications of discipleship different from those of simply coming to faith? I believe the answer is yes.
First, Jesus tells us that if we want to be His disciples, we must deny ourselves. This is a foundational issue. We have a choice in life: we can either live for ourselves or we can deny ourselves. We can either ignore the cross, or we can take it up and follow Him.
The great barrier to being a disciple of Jesus Christ is summed up in one word: self. Self-obsession is not something unique to our generation, although the Bible does say that in the last days, people would be lovers of themselves and lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God (see 2 Timothy 3:1-5). Certainly we are living in a time of great self-obsession, especially in the United States. Yet we can trace its roots all the way back to the Garden of Eden. When Satan came to Eve, he essentially appealed to her selfish nature.
That is why Jesus said, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself . . ." (Matt. 16:24). Jesus didn't say, "Love yourself." He didn't say, "Have a positive self image." He said, "Deny yourself." That is what we need to do, because that is what gets in the way.
Copyright (c) 2004 by Harvest Ministries. All rights reserved. Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright (c) 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.