Dietrich Bonhoeffer said Christianity without discipleship was not Christianity at all. Discipleship is not something to be admired in the super-spiritual, it is a requirement for every follower of Jesus. If Jesus is your Lord, you will be His disciple. You don’t find so-called “casual Christians” in places like Afghanistan, Iran, China, and so many other countries around the world.
They understand following Jesus is a call to discipleship. It is a call to die to yourself and live for Christ. If you are serious about serving God, you will spend your days learning to become His disciple. The spoils of this world will hold no appeal for you. There will be Jesus and nothing else.
Discipleship might be a call to die physically. It might be a call to spend the rest of your life in deplorable prison conditions. In most parts of the world, those scenarios are far more likely than seeing Jesus as a pathway to prosperity, health, and happiness. Perhaps the person who told you about Jesus never mentioned those things. Maybe you feel if that’s true, Jesus is no longer worth the cost to you. It’s okay. If you’re in that camp, you were never a true follower of Christ anyway. Those who love the Lord with all their strength, heart, mind, and soul will not shy away when the going gets tough (Mark 12:30).
A time is coming, probably much sooner than any of us expect, when we will have to choose between Jesus and the life we’ve always known or dreamed of. Jesus is not the realization of the American dream. He is the culmination of God’s plan. Jesus did not come so you could live a life of ease and luxury. He came to give Himself as a sacrifice for your sins and to save you from an eternity separated from Him and His love. Christ held nothing back when coming to our rescue. We profane Him every time we neglect His will for living a life of our own.
Serving God is a choice we must make every moment of our lives. The time for lazy and indifferent living is over. It should have never been that way. You don’t marry your spouse and then go on and live as if they didn’t exist. Yet so many of us, certainly all of us at one point or another, have done this to Jesus. We give Him our hearts and then go about life as we always have.
Brothers and sisters, we are at an interesting time in history. Technology has made it possible to share the good news of Jesus around the globe. Satan is reacting violently, and we are seeing devastating violence against those who call on the name of Jesus. Serving God is not convenient or safe. But it is required for those who love Him and call Him their Lord. I am confident a test of faith will soon come to your door and mine. The only way to be ready is to pray fervently and diligently study God’s Word. He is our hope and our refuge. If we confess Him before men, He will confess us before the Father (Matthew 10:32-33). That is our assurance and our destiny. Don’t be afraid. Be strong. And be ready.