Discipleship: Response Required

If Jesus Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords…and He is.  If Jesus Christ came to save all who believe in Him so we could be in a relationship with Him…and He did.  If you have received Him as Savior and claim to be in that relationship with Him, the only question that remains…are you submitting to Him as Lord of your life?

The moment you realize God’s purpose, which is to get you rightly related to Himself and then to your fellow men, He will tax the last limit of the universe to help you take the right road.                               (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest)

Responding to Your Lord

Regarding the question in the quote above let me take it a step further.  If Christ is Lord of all and you claim to be in a relationship with Him, but He is not Lord of your life, then who is?  If He’s not Lord of your life, then what is your relationship with Him?

The ONLY WAY we can be in a relationship with Christ is with Him as Lord.  We must be His disciple, or student-servant, with our whole heart and whole life set on Him.  Wholehearted discipleship is not perfection, it is a lifelong maturation.

Remember that everyone has a Lord/lord; you are someone’s disciple.  Every part of your life reveals who is your Lord/lord and whom you are a disciple of.

For clarity’s sake, when we talk of discipleship it is based on the Scriptural principle and meaning of obedience-based discipleship, not knowledge-based as is so prevalent in our churches today and is not really discipleship at all.  Personal discipleship comes with the expectation of, and accountability for, obedience to His Word and in our walk with The Lord.  Relational discipleship is training and holding others accountable to obedience as we share and apply His Word to make disciples.  This is what the culture needs to see if they are going to find anything different in our faith than in their world!

A Discipleship Story

He came into my office expressing his concern that he was five minutes late due to work circumstances.  I told him it was no problem.  We prayed and I looked up and he was weeping profusely.  He’d already shared with me over the phone the reason for the tears so I asked him to just fill me in as to how he and his now estranged wife had arrived at this difficult and painful situation.

He filled me in on their backstory.  They had been married nine years after meeting his wife in Bible college.  He was sexually promiscuous before meeting her; she was not and they remained chaste in their courtship.  He was “addicted” to porn, but as is the case for many he kept it a tightly guarded secret.

With that dirty little “nugget” securely tucked away, they seemed to have had a really good relationship and sex life (according to him) the first 4-5 years.  In time the guilt became too heavy and he confessed the porn to her.  She practically cut him off from sex over the next four years.  Though he tried to fight the temptation, he continued with porn and about three years after the confession he had an affair. 

I shared with him that this was God’s design coming true in the flesh: where the eyes and mind go the body will eventually follow. 

She left him, and here he was sitting in my office having finally sought counsel as she had asked him to do years earlier after the initial porn confession.  In pride, he had chosen not to do so. 

He was heartbroken, full of guilt and shame, and missing his wife.  She had made no contact with him for the four months following her departure.  

He came into my office one week and said he was considering not continuing with any counseling or mentoring as it was doing no good.  I asked what that meant and he said, “She’s not coming back.” 

I asked. “What do you think you’re here for?”  He said, “To get my wife back and my marriage restored.” 

I responded, “If that happens, what’s going to be different?  You will still be the same prideful, lustful, sorry-for-yourself person that will not give into lust and porn for a while because of the grief and shame of having committed adultery and nearly losing your wife.  You’re not here first and foremost to get her back and restore your marriage.  You are here to understand what it means to be in a relationship with Christ and for Him to be Lord of your life—all of it!  As you walk in this faithfully He will shape and mold you into His disciple and the man and husband that He died for and desires you to be.  Then if your wife responds to His work and will in her life and comes back, you will be the husband and man that can make this marriage what God wants it to be. You’re here to know Christ above all else.” 

He agreed with deeper sobs and tears.

I tell that story for one simple reason.  Here was a man and couple that met in Bible college, knew God’s Word, and faithfully attended and served in their church.  Yet secret sin was prevalent in his life that, once revealed, led to deeper sin and destructive consequences.  The response from his wife, while certainly understandable, did not comport with God’s Word. Now what God had put together, a man and woman had torn apart. 

I’d like to say that the couple is back together and doing well and that this was a rare occurrence in our churches today, but they are not as far as I know.  The outcome is far from rare, although it is certainly a lesser occurrence in strong Bible-believing, Christ-centered churches.  The common denominator in most every story of broken covenant is that, much like this Bible college-educated, church attending, apparently happy-on-the-outside couple, many do not know and have never been discipled to be a disciple of Christ.

Our churches spend an inordinate amount of time, energy and effort on marketing a message that attracts and keeps folks coming, making converts to their community.  When it comes to making disciples of Jesus Christ in intimate loving relationships, there is a tremendous void.  How can we be His united Church if this persists?

This is a call to our homes and churches, especially those called to servant-leadership roles and responsibilities, to make His Lordship and our discipleship the overriding and all-consuming priority as His Word calls us to do!

Jesus on The Cost of Discipleship

We’ve already established that to be in a relationship with Jesus Christ means that He must be Lord and we must be His disciples.  Let’s explore what Our Lord Himself says about the cost of being His disciple.

It is nothing short of a tremendous gift of grace and blessing to be saved by Christ and to walk as His disciple.  That does not mean that it is easy. 

In Luke 14:25-35, Jesus describes the commitment (remember this is love) that is REQUIRED to be His disciple.  Bear with me once again as I paraphrase for brevity and ask you to read the text yourself to determine whether or not I’m adhering to His stern call to discipleship.

As the crowds grew, Jesus’ response was to ensure that they were following Him for the right reasons. (Compare this with many of today’s churches, as we’ll see this again later regarding John 6).  His first comment was downright tough! Again this is my paraphrase so read it for yourself.  Jesus says if we have anything in our life, including our own life, then we can’t be His disciples.  He doesn’t focus on money, fame, or stuff; He talks about the most important of relationships: marriage and family. Ouch! Anything in your life taking priority over Christ?  This is a call to maturity in Christ.  We may struggle and stumble, but His call is to determine and display in our hearts and lives that He is first and foremost.

He then describes the cost in two ways:  1) Financially – He describes someone attempting to build a tower that does so without considering what it will cost.  The end result is a half-built tower and it becomes a focal point of ridicule for all who see it; 2) Battle – He describes a king going to battle with half the number of his enemy.  Either he must determine whether he has a plan to defeat the enemy or he must come with a white flag and discuss “peace.”

The outcome in the first example is that our life and what is produced by a weak faith is a mockery for those who witness it.  In other words, Jesus is saying if you don’t count the cost and sell out to me or, live like He is first in your life, your faith is a laughingstock.  We can’t continue to display a faith that doesn’t put Him first in all things.

In the Battle example, the result is a compromise and likely surrender.  This is certainly not the victorious Christian life that His Word speaks of, as so many try to live with a partial or weak faith and claim they are His disciples. By His own words Jesus says that we can’t be half-hearted and be His disciples.

OUCH AGAIN!  And He’s not finished yet.

Jesus goes on to say, “In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples” (Luke 14:33).  How many of us are trying to be His disciples on our own compromised terms when, according to Him, we simply can’t be and are not?  What must He think of us? 

Finally, He closes by stating that those who are trying to live as His disciples on their own terms essentially have no impact in His Kingdom.  The impact of their saltiness is worthless. 

Let me give you a final paraphrase in context with this passage that I pray will drive the point home and compel all those who call Him Savior to seek and desire to walk with Him as Lord.  In essence Jesus is saying, if He’s not first in our lives, if we do not count the cost of the calling and commitment, and we do not take up our own cross (i.e., go to the death of our own self and selfish desires) then we are not His disciples.  Stated another way: If we are not willing to pay the price, then He is not our Lord and our faith is a mockery to those who observe us.  Is it any wonder the culture is not drawn to our modern-day faith and to Christ but rather to our souped-up services design to attract with little or no accountability and commitment expected?

What does your discipleship response to Christ look like?

Contact Love and Lordship and let us know what you’re thinking and how we can help. 

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Make it a great day and God bless in Christ!

Love and Lordship…Food for Thought – Christ gave up His glorious lifestyle in heaven to become a human being and then gave up His life all so we could be saved.  We are saved to be in a relationship with Christ and He is Lord of all.  Have you been deceived to accept Christ as Savior but not as Lord?  Being His disciple, as He saved us to be means He takes priority over every part of our lives.

Love and Lordship…Action Item(s) – Take an inventory of the most important things in your life.  Determine which things mean the most to you and be brutally honest in where Christ is placed in your life.