The call of a Christian goes fully against our sin nature and would appear to be foolish, gruesome, and dare I even say, dreadful, when seen through the eyes of one with an un-regenerated heart. Yet, Jesus is pleading with us to pursue Him, deny ourselves, and ultimately pick up the gospel message (our cross) and carry it to our crucifixion, our inevitable death. In the sight of God, this is glorious! Furthermore, His Word promises us that if we freely do this, His Son, Jesus Christ who holds the power of life and death (Eph 1:20-23), will raise us up from death to reign with Him for all eternity.
But there is a cost. As humans, we wrestle with understanding our mission as disciples of Christ simply because it looks painful and requires big sacrifices – to be completely honest, the call of a disciple is nothing short of impossible. But with God all things are possible. (Matt 19:26.)
What does it means to be a disciple of Jesus?
Most Christians would agree that Jesus lived the perfect example of what it means to be human. And He urges us to pursue Him by mimicking His life.
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? ~ Matt 16:24-26
In this passage, Jesus clearly lays out the concept of what the life of a Christian should look like. He begins by identifying a Christian as anyone who will pursue Him. One undeniable foundational truth is that God loves us and invites all of humanity into fellowship with Him through His Son, Jesus. (John 3:16.) But only a few will accept the invitation and will walk in accordance to His Word.
In Matt 7:13-14, Jesus explains the Christian walk by using this analogy:
“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”
Knowing this, we can understand that walking with Christ is not alluring to the human eye and it is very difficult; yet, Jesus pleads with us to follow Him and in doing so, we will have eternal life.
Next week, Davina shares what it means to deny self.