Memorise: And he said to them all, if any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. Luke 9:23
Read: Mark 8:34-37; Bible in one year: Luke 23:6-24:53; Job 29:7-20
At the beginning of the earthly ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ, discipleship was a term used to describe the process of building followers who were committed to the cause, teaching and beliefs of our Lord Jesus Christ. It later becomes a common term used to describe the followers of Jesus. Discipleship is the crux of the Lord’s final address on earth. In this address known as the Great Commission, He charged us to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). Discipleship is not something that happens immediately after salvation, neither is it an optional experience for any Christian. Discipleship, which essentially means following Jesus, is the essence of Christianity
Discipleship as a Christian experience is a way of life that requires paying a cost (self-denial), and communication to the cause (taking up one’s cross). These two attributes required of a disciple are clearly stated in many passages of the Bible, specifically Luke 9:23, says:
“And he said to them all, if any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”
This is further enunciated in Matthew 10:38:
“And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.”
Luke 14:27 stretched the idea even further by saying:
“And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.”
The Bible speaks of following Jesus in relation to self-denial and the cross. Discipleship is therefore the way of sacrifice.
Paying the cost of discipleship through self-denial and commitment to the cause of Jesus by taking up one’s cross daily are two important requirements to discipleship. By denial of self, Jesus does not mean to deny one’s self of something. He means to renounce self; to cease to make self the object of one’s life and actions. This involves a fundamental reorientation of the principle of life. It is to place the divine will before self-will. God, not self, must be at the centre of life. This is something that is especially difficult for the average human being. I pray that as you read this, the Lord will visit you and turn your focus from self and earthly things to God and heavenly things in the Name of Jesus.
Father, please help me to focus on you alone. Help me to pay the price of discipleship and to be committed to the cause of Jesus all the days of my life.