READ: “Then he said to them all, ‘If anyone wants to become my follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it’ ” Lk 9.23-24.

THINK: To follow Jesus, the self cannot survive. Dying to self is a daily task. The true person is not in the ego, but in following Jesus. Self-preservation is a diabolical act; self-denial is a divine act. Following Jesus is the way of salvation. A condition of following him: death! Continue reading

The gospel is not hard to understand. For many, it is hard to accept.

  • It requires us to surrender to the Lordship of Christ.
  • It demands submission to the reign of God.
  • The gospel calls us to follow the guidance of the Spirit.

Many are not willing, but they disguise their stubbornness with subterfuge, saying that the terms of the gospel are murky, restrictive, or intolerant. But he is intolerant who will not submit his will to the Lord’s.

The gospel offers unequaled blessing, but to receive that blessing it places upon us no less an obligation that the total surrender of self.

But Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”
Matthew 8.22 NET

A good brother made a comment on Facebook about my post, “People who come to Christ must first count the cost,” made a couple of days ago. I’m assuming he read my post and didn’t just react to the title. (Though on FB that can be a big assumption at times.)

He questioned whether Peter preached the sacrifice and commitment of discipleship to the Jews in Acts 2. He also wondered if all this is not more of a gradual aspect of Christian growth. At least, that’s what I understood him to say.

Here’s how I responded, with a few tweaks. Continue reading

First off, we feel deeply for Mr. Warren the loss of his son. No parent can help but commiserate with him and his family in such a moment.

Mr. Warren continues to tweet, at least, we assume it’s his hand, although it could be one of his associates. Since the tweet is in his name, we’ll not hesitate to enter into a discussion, in spite of his personal situation. Continue reading

We have written much, recently, about the passage of Matthew 19.27-30. But today a structure appeared in verse 29 that deserves attention. Here’s the verse:

And whoever has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.
Matthew 19.29 NET

There are seven items in the list of things that the disciple can and must leave for Jesus’ sake. Seven is the number that represents the totality of human interests and relationships. Continue reading

Jesus wants to hear words that assume the commitment to be a follower and that understand the cost of that commitment. Mere words aren’t sufficient, the same way that mere actions aren’t sufficient either.

As they were walking along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”
Jesus said to him, “Foxes have dens and the birds in the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
Luke 9:57-58 NET

If we follow Jesus, let us forget our comfort, leave off worrying with physical safety, think hard about the sacrifice he calls us to make.

Let us follow the Master calculating the cost, in order to forget it thereafter.

After all, to walk with him is the highest of blessings.

 

Discipleship

According to the predominant religious models, the religious life is thought of in contemplative terms. To be spiritual is to flee from the world. Literally. To the monastery.

As he went along, he saw Levi, the son of Alphaeus, sitting at the tax booth. “Follow me,” he said to him. And he got up and followed him.
Mark 2:14 NET

Jesus walked up and down the country, teaching and serving. And calling. Levi got up and followed him. To follow Jesus, one has to move. Teach. Serve. Do, like the Master, the will of the Father.

Life in Christ isn’t an escape from the world, but engaging oneself in the battle for souls in need of salvation.