The Cost of True Discipleship

on Sunday 23, January 2011

In 1937 Dietrich Bonhoeffer gave the world his book, The Cost of Discipleship.  It was a masterful attack on ‘easy Christianity’ and ‘cheap grace,’ sighting that true discipleship is indeed costly.  Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself (the New Living Translation says, “give up his selfish ways”) and take up his cross and follow me.  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.”  (Matthew 16:24)

Dallas Willard picks this up by declaring that failure to be a disciplined, consistent follower of Jesus (non-discipleship) results in a life without peace, and will cost us the abundant life Jesus declared is ours.  “The cross-shaped yoke of Christ is after all an instrument of liberation and power to those who live in it with Him and learn the meekness and lowliness of heart that brings rest to the soul.  The correct perspective is to see following Christ not only as the necessity it is, but as the road to the fulfillment of the highest human possibilities and as life – Christ’s abundant life – lived on the highest plane.”

Self-denial and the crucifying of our flesh and carnal nature is not a comfortable topic.  Our urge to live a human, self-centered life is very strong and does not die easily.  But peace, joy, rest, and fulfillment are the end result, if we wholeheartedly follow Jesus and truly become His disciple.