Monday, July 21, 2008

07 21 08 I Have Decided…

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother,
and wife and children, and brothers and sisters,
and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.
Whoever does not carry his own cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14: 26-27 NET)

Discipleship…it’s a popular word today and a challenging word at the same time. It’s popular, but is it fully defined or understood. Is it just another fashionable program added to the church calendar or is it truly something we are committed to carrying out in a way in which we better honor the Lord and serve others. The requirements of discipleship include putting Christ first, valuing him above life itself, above our family activities, and certainly above all our material possessions. In short, the true disciple is the one who has learned to die to himself/herself, take up their cross daily, and follow the Lord. The mathetes in Greek is a learner, a pupil, a follower, in this case of Jesus Christ. Though this phrase has become somewhat cliché today, I HAVE DECIDED to do just that!

We must remember that God chooses His disciples, we don’t! The men the Lord chose as his disciples were not necessarily the brightest, wealthiest, or the most influential group in their communities, though that is probably whom we would choose. They were young, middle class Galileans—a diverse group without any formal, theological training. However, we don’t want to discourage the wealthy and educated from becoming Christ’s disciples. A successful business person can be just as effective and committed to Christ as an unemployed teenager, yet simply because a person does well in business does not necessarily make one a good disciple of Christ.

When anyone; rich, poor, young, old, male or female makes the statement: “I HAVE DECIDED to follow Jesus”, they realize the rewards are not material, the work is not easy, and the results are not immediate. They give that up for the presence and gentleness of the Lord, for his grace to carry out every task He gives them and the resulting intimate fellowship with Him.

God knows His children and calls them by name. We in turn must answer the call. Being forgiven and saved from sin is one thing; and what a miraculous thing at that! Praise the Lord! Being a disciple is another step of faith however. It is an active as well as a proactive process requiring commitment and sacrifice on a daily basis. Oh yes, the harvest is indeed plentiful, but the dedicated laborers, but I am afraid the true disciples, are so few. We must indeed pray that the Lord of the Harvest sends more in this time of false teaching, mixed messages, and sugar-coated presentations of the Gospel.

The Lord challenges each of us today and every day to take up our cross and follow Him into the battle field. Let’s answer that call…I HAVE DECIDED, I have committed, and I have made up my mind, to be His disciple.

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