Summary: Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. - Matthew 16:24 As a new believer in the Lord I would seek to read certain books written about the Bible that would hel ..
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. - Matthew 16:24
As a new believer in the Lord I would seek to read certain books written about the Bible that would help my understanding. One small booklet that I ran across which I felt compelled to read was titled "True Discipleship" by the author William MacDonald. The cover had flames over a city typifying when believers in Jesus Christ were true disciples of the Holy Spirit they would have a great impact on the world for the Lord. As I read through the pages my heart leaped as it expounded on sayings of the Lord where I was reading prior. A lot of the same conclusions I was coming to alone reading the Gospels in my room by myself this small booklet was confirming to me. Here is one of the many phrases that struck me in the book: "Denial of self means such complete submission to the lordship of Christ that self has no rights or authority at all. It means that self abdicates the throne. In order to be His disciples, we must walk as He walked. We must exhibit the fruit of Christ-likeness (John 15:8)." What challenging words that lifted up a high standard for discipleship and following our Master in this earth. I saw clearly that I was to lay down my entire life to the Lord and not just selectively give up things. It was choosing to follow in the way of my Lord in this earth and be willing to suffer what he suffered.
In the Presbyterian Church I was attending, God was showing me much of his character, and ensuring I had a holy reverence for him. Yet it was alone in my bedroom as I read the statement of our Lord Jesus and reading small books like True Discipleship, where I started to follow in the very steps of the Apostles. We see that Jesus calls us to supreme love for Him, he must be first. In this process we have to deny ourselves not just foods and pleasures but our very self. We need to willingly choose the way of the cross and to take his cross gladly. Christian life is a life of following Christ as the verse ends with "follow me." As disciples we are also to love our brothers and sisters in the Lord (John 13:35). Continue in the Word of God (John 8:31). And lastly forsake all that we have in this earth (Luke 14:33). This forsaking is key to true discipleship in that we must have the priority of God's kingdom as our only priority in this earth. It is Christians who are called to bear the very Name of Christ. We have a high-calling, we are God's representatives on earth. This life will soon be over and the goal of our life should be in following Christ and making him known to others.