When one chooses to be a Christian, one becomes a follower of God. There are things that our leader, God, asks us to do as followers. These conditions of being a follower or disciple of God are not always easy. God wants a real relationship with his followers and when believers meet these conditions spiritual formation (and growth in that relationship) occurs.
Some of the conditions of being a follower of Jesus are self-denial, renunciation, “leaving it all,” steadfastness, fruitfulness, and love. Jesus taught that God does not like half-heartedness. God desires a real relationship with his followers therefore it is imperative that followers show that they are serious about their faith and put God first. There could be many people who say that they are Christians and many people who want to follow Jesus but they are not truly followers because they are not willing to follow through on these conditions.
The first condition, self-denial, is setting aside one’s own plans, goals, desires in life and following God’s instead. This is one of the hardest things about being a disciple of Jesus. Our life is no longer ours, but Christ’s. Do not get me wrong. This is not all bad or difficult. Look at the alternative. Willard says “the cost of non-discipleship is greater than the cost of discipleship.” The cost of having Jesus in your life outweighs the cost of not having him in your life. But being a disciple of Christ means that we will have to choose between the desires of our own flesh and the plans of God.
The second condition, renunciation, means to reject or renounce earthly pleasures. It is a sacrifice. Take the idea of self-denial and step it up to the next level. Not only are you denying your own plans and pleasures but now also rejecting all earthly pleasures and desires as well. Remember God wants all of us in our relationship to Him, not just to be compartmentalized to Sunday mornings only.
The next condition of “leaving it all” builds on the same ideas of self-denial and renunciation. We are taught by Jesus to follow him. Not to follow our own ways, not to follow the ways of this world, instead we are told to “leave all” behind. This might mean leaving behind other “important” things like family, friends, or a career to do God’s will instead.
The fourth condition is steadfastness. Steadfastness means to be dedicated, devoted, loyal, and fixed on a goal. When it comes to being a disciple we are to be fixed on following Christ. We are to abide with Christ, as we talked about together earlier in this class. We are to align our thoughts, doctrines, and teachings up with what Christ teaches in the Bible. The last two conditions are similar, in that we have discussed these things at some level in this class already. We are to be fruitful. Christians will bear fruits of the Spirit. This also progresses from being steadfast. If someone is steadfast in their faith, abides in Christ, and is serious about their relationship with God then they will inevitably become more like Christ. This means they will act and behave differently. They will love. They will have peace, joy, faithfulness, kindness, gentleness, and self-control.
Costs of Discipleship
Thank you for visiting. My name is Alex Dolin. I am a Christian Life Coach, a Professor of Biblical Studies, a future professionally licensed counselor and an ordained minister. I help people set realistically higher expectations, achieve more results and a better lifestyle. I offer many approaches to this, a few being: 1.) Professional Coaching, 2.) Pastoral Counseling, 3) Blogging, 4.) Public Speaking, and 5.) Preaching at scheduled events. Find me at AlexanderDolin.com