We serve a God who not only calls us by name, but calls us to walk in His identity as a disciple of Christ as well. It's a role that we're called to fulfill in God's Kingdom, but it's not an easy role to fill. Yet, many of us mark it with the label that it is because we don't realize the true cost of discipleship until we're faced with moments that we have to either defend our faith or keep quiet about it.
Why is this?
Why can we look at Jesus and see the cost that God paid for our sins through his crucifixion, and not be willing to die for a faith of our own?
Discipleship isn't just something that we can freely choose to partake in when we want. It's easy to show up at church on Sunday and agree with the words that the preacher says and leave it at that "until next week," but that's not how we fulfill our roles in the Kingdom. We come to church to be filled as disciples and affirmed that we've taken on our one, true identity so that we can walk in confidence with a fearless faith to proclaim the Gospel to a world that so desperately needs to hear it. We don't come to church to feel good and proud of ourselves in the fact that we were able to wake up and get there on time "this week." We come to church to grow as a community of believers that share the same passion for the one and true living God, Who has a mission that He desires to achieve through us.
We have to understand this. And as the church, we must wake up, rise up, and walk.
Disciples follow Jesus because he is the way. His life is the example for how we are to live ours. We cling to him through faith because he is our reason to live. He gives us life.
"And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them,
Disciples help others follow Jesus because they know his goodness and desire for the world to be a witness to it as well. Having a relationship with Jesus is vital, but it doesn't- and it can't- end with us. We are called to embody the qualities of Christ into our everyday lives as we proclaim his goodness to the world. He opens eyes through us.
"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age," (Matthew 28:19-20).
Disciples replicate Jesus because it is through him that we receive life and are able to give it. We are called to be fishers of men and that city on a hill through acts of love, humility, grace, service, and obedience every day, for all of our days.
"For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps," (1 Peter 2:21, ESV).
Disciples must realize that the cost of discipleship requires sacrifice. When heavy waves come crashing down, we must swim with faith instead of drowning in fear. Trials will come, and when they do we must draw near to the Lord and seek His face. We don't serve God simply for profit. This life was never guaranteed to be easy all the time, but folks, the destination will sure be worth it. Even in the suffering, God is still sovereign and good. He will take care of you.
“Christians today like to play it safe. We want to put ourselves in situations where we are safe 'even if there is no God.' But if we truly desire to please God, we cannot live that way.” -Francis Chan
Disciples depend on God's gentle grace because without it, we would fail- over and over again. Disciples are not perfect by any means. Disciples are on the journey of life just like anyone else, but they don't allow their mistakes to define them because they know that they're forgiven and desire for everyone else to know that they're forgiven, too, by reflecting the light of Christ to those around them. There is no power that can match His grace.
"And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit," (2 Corinthians 3:18, ESV).
"But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God," (Acts 20:24, ESV).
Ladies, living this life is not about us, or our convenience. It's about the calling that God has placed on our lives and doing whatever it takes to live for Him.
We belong to God. So what are you waiting for? Shout His name from the rooftops and proclaim the freedom that He gives us as we take delight in Him! Wake up, rise up, and walk.