I have thought on the word “discipleship” a great deal in recent years.
If I had to describe, in one word, this journey of mine it has all come down to the word: RENUNCIATION.
The dictionary gives this simple definition of renunciation: abnegation, denial, forsaking, giving up, self-abnegation, self-denial, self-renunciation.
Tough words. Sometimes painful. Always challenging.
I smile when someone refers to a Christian as “wimpy.” (Truly, they haven’t got a clue!) Of all things required to pull-off a set of words like the above? Wimpy is certainly not one of them.
Following Jesus is definitely not for wimps!
Discipleship is the act of daily “laying your life down,” sometimes literally, as we have seen in our news headlines, but always, always, in absolute fidelity.
And here is where the struggle comes in—at least for me.
Perhaps there are those who joyfully follow wherever Christ points without the slightest questioning. For me—there has always been the struggle—especially when it is something that seems unfair, unjust, or illogical.
And, I suspect all the talk about the many folks going out the back doors of our churches confirms, I am not alone.
For a dedicated disciple of Jesus, life will come down to obedience—always.
Following Christ is choosing to obey Him in ALL THINGS.
We don’t pick or choose.
We don’t get a vote.
We are required to sacrifice anything and everything—if He wills it. We renounce our rights to ourselves, and renunciation, is where many walk away believing the price is just too high.
Discipleship means tough choices and giving up our right to any refusal (perhaps this is the toughest choice of all,) but that is why Jesus said to us, “Count the cost.”
Discipleship is very costly at times.
I imagine Non-Christians wonder, “Why would anyone choose this?”
For myself, I had to think hard to know how to answer that question:
I suppose, first, it is the JOY of learning that you are thoroughly LOVED—just as you are.
All the broken, unworthy stuff, forgiven because He wants us; just as He finds us; in spite of all our mess.
Then, there is the PEACE He gives.
A peace that will overcome and rule any situation. (How could you possibly put a price on that?) He is the Prince of Peace, and when He comes to dwell in a heart He brings His peace with Him.
There is escaping hell and it’s judgement. (No explanation necessary here.)
There is His STRENGTH and the HOPE He gives.
There are all the PROMISES that He absolutely makes good on, either now or in the life to come, because He is completely TRUSTWORTHY.
He never lies. Never betrays. Never abandons.
He is a King.
This world belongs to Him.
Make no mistake about it, He will never ask your permission.
He is a ruler.
He is: The Ruler.
(Something this world will soon discover!)
He will not spare for our crying, yet He will always acknowledge our suffering, for no one is more compassionate, or kind.
No one is more forgiving. But—He is laser-focused and unrelenting in His goals for our lives!
Does following Christ make you a wimp?
My answer—try it—see for yourself.
ONLY WE TWO
We are going somewhere, you and I!
This, all of this, will be transformed into glory.
Remember? I give grace and glory.
(This we have talked about many times.)
Ah, but the cost we rarely speak of.
So today, let’s speak of it.
This chafing you feel? This constant, dragging, irritation? This is from Me. The things you think you cannot bear? The things that try your nerves, and scrape, and grate, on your soul? From Me—all from Me.
Just a little more.
Just until your nerves don’t grate and your heart can bear.
(Oh, that look!)
“Never.” you say?
(Oh, I don’t know about that!)
My child, I don’t smile at your discomfort. I smile because I see what you are becoming. I see the seeds of glory beginning to sprout.
(Ha, I knew it!)
Soon, you will be a luscious garden of graces, filled with the fruits of My Spirit. All this grating, chafing, misery, will dwarf in comparison.
As you begin to fulfill your destiny?
Oh, the healing that will flow from those lips; from your heart. Your life will burst into bloom and blossom and the world will marvel at what you have become.
Only we two will know what it has cost you—what you laid down and sacrificed to bear this fruit for others.
“After you have suffered a little while, our God, who is full of kindness through Christ, will give you his eternal glory.” 1 Peter 5:10