A disciple of Christ is a learner and a follower of Christ. All disciples are repentant believers but not all believers are disciples. A crowd “followed” Jesus, but only a few were truly followers of Christ. Let’s take a look at how Jesus explained discipleship in the Bible .
Calculate the Cost
Every disciple carries a cross, the cross of total renunciation. Before you become of disciple, you must calculate the cost of discipleship, and assess if you will be able to follow the LORD Jesus to the end.
Now large crowds were traveling with Jesus. He turned and told them.
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father, mother, wife, children, brothers, and sisters, as well as his own life, he can’t be my disciple. Whoever doesn’t carry his cross and follow me can’t be my disciple.
“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. He will first sit down and estimate the cost to see whether he has enough money to finish it, won’t he? Otherwise, if he lays a foundation and can’t finish the building, everyone who watches will begin to ridicule him and say, ‘This person started a building but couldn’t finish it. Or suppose a king is going to war against another king. He will first sit down and consider whether with 10,000 men he can fight the one coming against him with 20,000 men, won’t he? If he can’t, he will send a delegation to ask for terms of peace while the other king is still far away.
In the same way, none of you can be my disciple unless he gives up all his possessions” (Luk 14.25-33)
The call to discipleship is for all repentant believers (Mat 28.18-20). Only those who believe in Jesus and have repented from sin qualify to become disciples. All disciples of Christ are believers but not all believers are disciples.
Repentance from sin is mandatory to partake of the second resurrection in the kingdom of God on earth, but, it is not enough to secure a place in the first resurrection in the kingdom in Heaven. All disciples of Jesus are a line of kings and priests who will rule the world to come. They will be given thrones.
To become a disciple, a person must first repent of his sin and, secondly, MUST give up his all.
“Look!” Peter replied. “We have left everything and followed you. So, what will we get?”(Mat 19.27).
1) Give up your property & possessions
The word of Christ to the rich young ruler is the same for all who want to follow him. Jesus told him,
If you want to be perfect, go and sell what you own and give the money to the destitute, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come back and follow me (Mat 19.21)
Until you give away your earthly riches to the poor, you cannot follow the LORD. The rich do not follow him. It is very difficult for them to follow him or enter the kingdom of God because they are unable to give away their wealth. Blessed are the poor, for theirs is the kingdom of God. The poor are blessed because they have little or nothing to give away, making them more suitable to enter the kingdom.
Embrace the life of simplicity. Simplicity means be content or cheerful with the basic things of life. Simplicity does not mean poverty. Being poor is not God’s will. it is God’s will to meet your basic needs. Basic needs are shelter, food, water, clothing etc. Basic needs are not a fancy house, expensive food, designers clothing, private jet or luxurious cars etc. To become a disciple of Christ, you must sell your riches and give the money to the poor and settle on the basic things of life.
The early church lived in the way of total renunciation. They made it their practice to sell their possessions and goods and to distribute the proceeds to anyone who was in need (Acts 2.45)
2) Human Relationships must be secondary
You must love the Lord God more than you love any human being. If a repentant person wants to be a disciple, he must wholeheartedly seek to please God more than anyone in his family. He must be ready to reject his family if he is forced to make a choice.
The one who loves his father or mother more than me isn’t worthy of me, and the one who loves a son or daughter more than me isn’t worthy of me. The one who doesn’t take up his cross and follow me isn’t worthy of me (Mat 10.37-38)
3) Total Submission
You must become a child. Except you become a child, you cannot enter the kingdom of God. Only children follow the Lord. Only children can learn from the Lord. Self-confidence, self-reliance, self-righteousness must be completely dealt away with. There should be no element of self-reliance in your heart. Be a sheep (sheep always follow the shepherd) and not a goat (they always go their own way). Every sheep listens to and obeys his master. Do not give up your possessions, only to go on the journey alone, without the Lord as your Shepherd, Master and teacher. It will be wasted effort. Pray that the Lord will enable you have child-like heart of humility. The race is not for the strong but the weak. The race is not for the “wise” but the humble. The humble and the weak receive divine strength to walk the hard road.
I tell you with certainty, whoever doesn’t receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it (Mar 10.14-16).
4) Deny yourself
You must deny yourself. Your dreams, pleasures, comforts, careers and even your life must be laid down at the altar. You must be ready to give up your life in the face of persecution. You must stop living to satisfy your natural desires and begin to satisfy God.
If anyone wants to follow me, he must deny himself, pick up his cross, and follow me continually. Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it, because what profit will a person have if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what can a person give in exchange for his life? (Mat 16.24-26)
A disciple is a cross carrier. He carries a cross of self-denial. The yoke of self-denial is less weighty than the yoke of sin.
Only the LORD Jesus gives disciple training unto perfection. All can believe in Him, but not all qualify to follow Him. If you meet these conditions, the LORD will make Himself found to you again a second time in a different way for a new journey. Pray that the Lord help you. Many struggle but only a few are able to “enter Him”.
If you thirst to know more, download this FREE eBook, “The Way to the Kingdom of Heaven”