I am privileged to know and worship with people who have proved to be true disciples of Jesus Christ. For years they bowed down to other gods, who were worshipped in their culture. When they had a revelation of the true God in the person of Jesus, it cost them dearly. They were forced to flee for their lives, leaving everything behind.
Jesus said, “Any of you who do not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33). I have never once heard one of them grumble or count the cost, despite the fact that they often long to see their families again. Their lives demonstrate what it means to be a committed disciple of the Lord Jesus.
This is a great challenge in our western culture, which revolves around me, my rights, my wants or my way. I’m more convinced than ever that the life of a true disciple is all about Jesus. It is a life of ‘self on the cross and Christ upon the throne’. It is also life with a purpose and passion, with Jesus at the centre and a longing to be used by Him, to go and make other disciples and to see His kingdom extended, while we still have opportunity.
The first disciples were all called by Jesus. They were getting on with their ordinary lives. When Jesus saw Peter and his brother Andrew fishing, as He walked by the seashore, His words were, “Come follow me and I will make you fishers of men.”
The response of the fishermen was instant and seemingly unpremeditated, ‘At once they left their nets and followed Him’ (Matthew 4:10-20). A little later Jesus saw two more fishermen, James and his brother John, who were in a boat with their father. When Jesus called them, ‘Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed Him’ (Matthew 4:22).
A disciple is always called and always has a purpose in life. Jesus is the One who calls, and His purpose for each of our lives is that we follow Him closely and obey Him, simply because we love Him. Jesus said that the cost of being a disciple is putting Him before everyone else and giving up everything we have to follow Him (Luke 14:25 and 33). In simple words, the motto of a true disciple is ‘Jesus first’.
I wonder if He is speaking to us today, asking us to examine our hearts and to get rid of anything that we put before Him. Whatever or whoever that is needs to be recognised as an idol. Today Jesus is seeking those who will give Him first place in their lives, fully relying on the Holy Spirit, who is the source of power for a fruitful life.
Discipleship today means going against the flow and it holds challenges. However, it is a life of joy and peace; a life that is worth living. When Jesus is the centre, we are focused outwards on Him and His purposes. When the focus is on self, we inevitably become anxious and fearful and miss what Jesus promised, ‘Life to the full’ (John 10:10).
Prayer: Father, as I meditate on the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross, please enable me to honestly pray “All to Jesus I surrender, all to Him I freely give. I will ever love and trust Him, in His presence daily live.” I ask this for His glory. Amen.
Margaret Silvester had a career as a teacher prior to being called into full time Christian Ministry with her husband, David, in 1986. They were involved in establishing a Healing Ministry in the local church and Margaret has a passion to see lost and wounded people found and restored. She and her husband joined the Ellel Ministries teaching and ministry team in 2000 after a clear call from God. Margaret`s book “Stepping Stones to the Father Heart of God” has recently been published.