I believe that it is imperative for Christians to stand up and stand out in our dark culture. But what will we do? How do we respond to a culture in which sin is legalized? What do we do to influence those who would seek us harm? I believe that step number one is discipleship.
You may be thinking, “Discipleship?!” Right. You and I as Christians must be sure that we are fully committed to the cause of Christ. Have we fully given our lives to Jesus? You see, that is the essence of true discipleship.
Throughout Jesus’ teachings, there were those who sought to offer excuses regarding why they couldn’t do discipleship. Let’s look at four of those now.
1. “But Lord, my family…”
Some people give in to the idea that full, committed Christianity will in some way condemn their family members. So, even though they are New Testament Christians, they may become lax in areas such as divorce and remarriage or modesty or social drinking or others. However, on one occasion, Jesus stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother” (Mat. 12:49-50).
2. “But Lord, let me do this first…”
One person said he couldn’t immediately follow Jesus because he needed to bury his father (Mat. 8:21). Jesus told him to follow Him, and let the dead bury their own dead (Mat. 8:22). Some believe that maybe this man’s father was not yet dead; he was just putting off following Jesus until a more convenient time. Will there ever be a convenient time to follow the Lord? There’s no better time than right now.
3. “But Lord, it’s hard!”
Let’s face it – being a true disciple IS difficult! This is undoubtedly why Jesus said, after giving the Great Commission, “I am with you always” (Mat. 28:20).
4. “But Lord, I could lose my life!”
It’s true, some people have sought to kill Christians simply for living as Jesus taught them to (cf. Rev. 2:10). Jesus’ response is this:
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell (Mat. 10:28).
Let’s wrap it up: Jesus has been abundantly clear. Those who are unwilling to put Him above ALL others cannot be His disciples (Luke 14:26). Those who are unwilling to suffer with Him and for Him cannot be His disciples (Luke 14:27). Those who are unwilling to forsake all that they have cannot be His disciples (Luke 14:33).
How many people do you know who have been influenced negatively, and have found Christianity repulsive because they saw someone who claimed to be a Christian, but wasn’t a true disciple? I’m afraid I know far too many such people. On the other hand, how many people do you know who are faithful brothers and sisters in Christ, who motivate you to do right. I’m thankful to say I know a LOT of people like that. And with those two illustrations you see the powerful force of true discipleship.