If we answer the call to discipleship where will it lead us? What decisions will it demand? Christianity is a challenge. There are certain demands that are part of being disciple of Jesus. While some of these demands are the same for everyone some are specific for particular individuals. The challenge for each of us is to be realistic and honest about what Jesus is asking of us if we follow him. It is a life call. To be called to a life of extraordinary quality, to live up to it, is a narrow way. To confess and testify to the truth as it is in Jesus, to see the weakness and wrong in others, and at the same time refrain from judging them; to deliver the gospel message is hard, and at every moment we are in danger of straying from it.
Adapted from The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.
Of the demands of discipleship that apply to all of us, what do you find most difficult? What is being asked of you?
And it came to pass, as they walked in the way, that a certain man said to him: “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus said to him: “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air nests; but the Son of man has not where to lay his head.” But he said to another: “Follow me.” And he said: “Lord, suffer me first to go, and to bury my father.” And Jesus said to him: “Let the dead bury their dead: but you go and preach the kingdom of God.” And another said: I will follow you, Lord; but let me first take my leave of them that are at my house.” Jesus said to him: “No man putting his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”
A disciple who does not serve others is not Christian.
Discipleship isn’t a program or an event; it’s a way of life. It’s not for a limited time, but for our whole life. Discipleship isn’t for beginners alone; it’s for all believers for every day of their life. Discipleship isn’t just one of the things the church does; it is what the church does.
We reduce discipleship to a canned program, and so many in the church end up sidelined in a spectator mentality that delegates disciple making to pastors and professionals, ministers and missionaries.
Those who teach by their doctrine must teach by their life, or else they pull down with one hand what they build up with the other.
, and at the same time to love the enemies of that truth, his enemies and ours, and to love them with the infinite love of Jesus Christ, is indeed a narrow way. To believe the promise of Jesus that his followers shall possess the earth, and at the same time to face our enemies unarmed and defenceless, preferring to incur injustice rather than to do wrong ourselves, is indeed a narrow way. f we regard this way as one we follow in obedience to an external command, if we are afraid of ourselves all the time, it is indeed an impossible way. But if we behold Jesus Christ going on before step by step, we shall not go astray.”
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship
What specific thing(s) is Jesus asking of you in order for you to follow him?
- Of the “demands of discipleship” that apply to all of us, what do you find most difficult?