Friday, October 21, 2011

Being Dedicated

“And He was saying to them all, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me” (Luke 9:23).

What is true discipleship? Is it following Jesus with a limit to how far you will go? If that is what it is to you then you have missed the point of God walking this earth among His creation. Being a follower of Jesus is a great goal, but one that will take great sacrifices to reach the great reward of serving the Great Savior. When we look at Luke’s recording of Jesus’ words in this matter we can see that God has put out His call that many will decline because of the great cost of being a true disciple. His writing is the only account that shows commitment as a daily decision to follow our Lord. A true disciple is someone who follows Jesus with no reservations.

What transforms the normal person into a true disciple? First off we can see that Jesus says it is a daily decision to die to self. Being clothed in the flesh causes us to a make a change in life. We are called to a “newness of life” (Romans 6:4) and this new life can only come into existence when we decide to do away with the old life. We must die to the fleshly desires that cause us to lose that “closeness” with God that only true disciples can enjoy (Isaiah 59:2). Sin is a common factor in everyone’s life, but the desire to serve its power can be done away with by denying the flesh’s lusts and disciplining our bodies to give the Lord’s commands the diligence of our efforts.

The next facet of being a true disciple is a willingness to suffer for our Lord’s cause. A true disciple sees discipleship as the greatest lifestyle available to our being. In fact, they see it as the only lifestyle, and when discipleship is viewed in this manner, taking up our cross is not even an obligation; it is an opportunity. It is a privilege to get to die for Jesus. He has made this sacrifice something that can be done with confidence of victory: “[B]ut thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57). The devil thought Jesus hanging on the cross was his victory, but sacrificing our physical life for God’s purpose is where true victory lies. This is confusing to the world but it is proven to the disciple. The disciple’s steps are no longer limited by physical sight, but are expanded and guided by spiritual truth. We no longer walk according to the flesh but live according to the Spirit, which makes us true disciples: “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God” (Romans 8:14). True disciples sacrifice their lives to walk with God knowing victory awaits the faithful.

The third facet of true discipleship is a willingness to follow Jesus wherever He goes: “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18). Discipleship is powered by humility. In fact, humility is in a true disciple like sweetness is in sugar. The Greek word for “follow” that Luke uses shows a willingness to accompany Jesus in every aspect of His life. When He spoke these words He had the cross in His sights. Many do not see the benefits of suffering and are not willing to follow Jesus to the cross. No one can be a true disciple unless they are willing to see their physical life as a sacrifice to lead others to the victory of faithfulness. Making Jesus Lord is more than a confession of the mouth; it is a commitment of the heart: “[T]hat if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). When the heart is convicted and humbled to receive the truth of Jesus, the mind and hands will follow and that will lead us to the salvation that can only be received in true discipleship. Don’t let the hindrances of the world hinder your faithful walk in the Lord. Follow Jesus all the way.

In His Grace,

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