How to Tell if You’re a Real Disciple

Discipleship has really been on my mind a lot lately. Discipleship has two parts: becoming a disciple of Christ, and then becoming a discipler of others.

My dad and I were discussing a devotional he had read. The author pointed out a profound and almost foreign point about becoming a disciple of Christ:

Discipleship always COST something.

Christ always asked his followers to leave something behind. He spoke of “being worthy of ME”, and “selling all that you have”. For some, it cost everything; for others, it cost wealth; some left behind family, professions, reputations–things they loved dearly.

This is the price of discipleship. But Christians are not being taught this gospel anymore. Today’s gospel in many circles is focused on what you will gain for following Christ. Wealth, answers, health, victory, etc.

And before I am misunderstood, I will be the FIRST to shout about all the things I’ve gained for being a follower of Christ. But gaining is not the focus of the gospel.  Losing is.

First things must come first. A life is found only if it’s willing to be lost. That’s the heart of the gospel. But am I willing to lose it?

Am I willing to deny myself first, before the benefits come? What am I willing to leave behind? Am I willing to lose all, EVEN IF I don’t see the gain?

Jesus called his disciples to some hard things; he told them without apology, “Look, some of you will be dragged before magistrates, beaten, and put to death. But take heart, your reward will be in Heaven.” Christians knew right up front that this wasn’t going to be easy. Why else were they willing to go to the stake for Him?

We can’t even fathom persecution like that. We complain about such light and momentary afflictions and most of us know little about “taking up crosses”.

How many of us are willing to admit that many things we do or refuse to do, are determined by what we are afraid to lose?  I would submit that what separates a true disciple from an imposter is a reckless willingness to give themselves up….and this gives me serious pause as I reflect on my own heart.

When once we are completely abandoned to Christ, we follow Him and take no care about what we lose or leave behind.

What are you willing to lose to gain Christ?

(Revised from the archives, 2008)

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11 Responses to “How to Tell if You’re a Real Disciple”

  1. Jessica says:

    Death to self is the struggle we all face everyday.

    I heard someone at church say a few weeks ago something like “The purpose of giving us our own will was so that we would choose to surrender it to our Savior”.

    http://www.surrender2survive.blogspot.com

  2. Natasha B says:

    I think about giving up the praises of Men because I am not in the professional world, I can’t boast of academic and professional accomplishments, which has been hard from time to time because I have always been shamefully prideful of my academics before I was married. Now after just doing what God says, and that is being a stay at home mom, I can now be comfortable with just that. I really don’t care about being in the professional world and having everyone look up to me.

    I am trying to think of how I can let my selfishness die in respect to my husband. Instead of thinking about how unfair somethings are in marriage, I remind myself I am here to serve the Lord by serving my husband, and that requires me to stop being so selfish if every one of my needs isn’t met.

    And actually I didn’t even think about this until recently, when I analyzed my reaction to one of my husbands comments. Instead of becoming offended, I did the right thing and remained pleasant. I didn’t think of myself first, I instantly thought of my husband. But that took a lot of hard work at first, but now it has become more natural.

    I guess I can sum up my “giving up” to giving up comfort and pleasure. And by doing so, I have been shown a better way of pleasure in life, because I try to be obedient to God.

    These things seem so minimal compared to being beaten and having to leave behind your family.

    • Word Warrior says:

      Those are great thoughts, Natasha. Just a little change in our perspective makes a big difference.

      • Amanda says:

        Natasha,

        I just want to encourage you that your doing the right thing by your husband will pay big dividends. God has taught me so much in this respect and I can honestly tell you that after 14 years of marriage, learning to die to self in my marriage has done more to open the prayer channel to God than any other. Once the sin of selfishness was removed, God began to change not only my heart but the heart of my husband. Do I wish he were more romantic…like the movies…well, sometimes, but honestly, it was always my eyes that were looking through the wrong lenses and once God began to change my heart, I fell head over heels in love with my spouse. I now notice all the things that I am sure he thinks are “unfair” to him in marriage and yet he lovingly does them to provide for his family and be the best dad and husband he can be. Anyway, your comment, just moved me to encourage you and I pray you reap HUGE DIVIDENDS in your marriage as a result.

  3. Kelly L says:

    “Obedience is better than sacrifice.” I have noted many on the other side of the balance of “prosperity gospel” who love the suffering aspect so much, they wear it like a badge. “Look I’m am being persecuted and you are not, I am a follower and you…”
    BTW, I am not saying this is what you are doing or even advocating, Kelly.

    The true, full gospel has suffering and prosperity. God promises much to those who are obedient: persecution and blessings. I think many have made a god in their own image who only cling to one or the other instead of clinging to the God who allows both.
    I am totally on the band wagon that the American church is almost spineless. Fearing a person telling them they are crazy for what they believe when other nations offer death and Christians are still obedient to preach the Word.
    I guess in my long rambling I am saying this: Losing does not have to look a certain way. God measures the heart and knows what a person must lose to be fully surrendered. For some, they have to go to the depths of misery. For others, the love they have for God is so great, they only need a little Holy Spirit nudge to let go of self. But the end result should be “I am not my own, I have been bought for a price. Your will only.”

  4. Jennifer says:

    Kelly L, that is SO well-said!

  5. Jennifer says:

    Kelly (Crawford), every once in a while I feel like you take my heart and stick it right on a cross. Well-done.

  6. Andrea says:

    As I am in the midst of giving up much and counting the cost (for a new ministry avenue for our family), this was very encouraging.
    Thanks Kelly.

    Andrea

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