The Cost of Non-Discipleship

Jesus was pretty up front about the cost of discipleship. Luke records a conversation Jesus had with a large crowd of would-be followers:

If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters – yes, even his own life – he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

Indeed, the price of following Jesus is a steep one. We’re called to crucify our selfish and prideful existences, choosing instead a life of sacrifice and humility, a life of forsaking and forsakenness. We assume a cross-centric life as we follow our Jesus. But we do so at great personal loss. My pride, my control, my desires for power and authority and self-gratification; each of these are incompatible with a life of a disciple. In Paul’s words, we regard these things as rubbish, lost to us (Philippians 3:8). In short, discipleship costs us everything.
But if we believe that abundant life is found in Christ, we are forced to acknowledge that the cost of non-discipleship is much greater. Dallas Willard writes:

Nondiscipleship costs abiding peace, a life penetrated throughout by love, faith that sees everything in the light of God’s overriding governance for good, hopefulness that stands firm in the most discouraging of circumstances, power to do what is right and withstand the forces of evil. In short, it costs exactly that abundance of life Jesus said he came to bring.

May His disciples draw strength from the knowledge that what they are receiving is far greater than what they are sacrificing.

This entry was posted in Devotional, Discipleship, Scripture. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Cost of Non-Discipleship

  1. Allen W. Jerkins says:

    Jason,Hoping that this finds you and family well.When I saw the title of your post I thought of Willard (the quote is from “The Spirit Of The Disciplines”, I believe). It’s all a matter of perspective; I remember coming to the conclusion several years ago that being a disciple of Jesus is in large part a matter of instant gratification vs. eternal gratification; too often we behave as if we are truly sacrificing something, when, in the words of C.S. Lewis, God never takes with His right hand what He doesn’t give back with his left (or something like that, anyway).”He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep in order to gain what he cannot lose.”

  2. Jason says:

    Great stuff, Allen. I’m reading through Richard Foster & James Bryan Smith’s “Devotional Classics” and the Willard quote was in the material I read today. I’ve not read any of his stuff in its entirety, but The Great Omission and Renovation of the Heart are on my post-grad school reading list. I also need to read more Lewis.But your point is a good one. The rewards of discipleship far outweigh the sacrifices.

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