Rev. Dr. Delesslyn A. Kennebrew, J.D., M.Div. - Visionary Strategist  Faithful Innovator  Inspirational Essayist
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Discipleship Costs YOU! - Luke 9:23


Luke 9:23
 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.

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BlogFam, Discipleship Costs.  I know that you already know this but in light of our scripture, I felt the need to just put that statement out there first. No build up.  No preparation. No sugar coating.  Discipleship Costs.  I cannot understand when or where believers got the idea that they would never be uncomfortable, talked about, rejected, or dare I say – crucified once they made the decision to follow Christ.  I appreciate the fair warning that the Lord gives his disciples then and now –
 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.

I think that one of the greatest struggles of discipleship is NOT the external suffering we endure at the hand of the enemy and perhaps manifest in the person of men and women we encounter.  I think that one of the greatest struggles of discipleship is perhaps NOT even the taking up of the cross.  I am not saying that is not challenging but we at least have an idea based on our own experiences and the testimonies of others that the cross is our great burden to bear as a follower of Christ  I would also say that the greatest struggle of discipleship is NOT even the following of Christ.  We may not completely understand where He may be leading us but we know that in the end following Jesus is the best decision we could have ever made. 

Today, I want to submit to you that the greatest challenge and highest cost of discipleship is the first thing we must do – DENY OURSELVES.  We love ourselves so much that to now deny ourselves for a road less traveled on a narrow strip of options guided by someone who has already made it to glory – well, that just is not our ultimate idea of the good life!  We want our rewards, accolades, promotions, and increase NOW and for us to embrace what it means for us to deny ourselves as a condition of discipleship is a huge sacrifice.

We have for far too long had this twisted idea that because Jesus paid it all, we can now have a free pass on everything that looks like hurt, pain, or suffering but that is not the case.  And for most of us, we can perhaps deal with that part of discipleship but when it comes to denying ourselves, well, that is a totally different story.

What does it mean for us to deny ourselves?  First of all, the whole idea just seems twisted!  Yes, I said it.  You were thinking it but you did not want to say it out loud.  It really does seem twisted on the surface.  When we think of denying ourselves, we get scared because who am I if I stop being me?  That is scary.  We live in a culture where we are inundated with an overemphasis of me, myself, and mine.  We have heard more than enough self-affirmation spiels.  We have set more personal goals and created vision boards and had more coaching to set us right for three lifetimes. So when we now begin to embrace the call to be disciples of Christ and the FIRST thing we are told to do is to DENY OURSElVES, well, that just seems so twisted and goes against EVERYTHING we have known and become.

So, again, what does it mean for us to deny ourselves?  It simply means this:
Whoever wants to be a disciple of Jesus Christ must deny themselves the privilege of having their own way and seeking their own glory in exchange for a life completely designed by God in which God gets all the glory in everything we think, say, and do. 
The irony in such a choice is that when we deny ourselves, we avail ourselves to having life and having life more abundantly.  Discipleship costs us everything so that we can gain eternity and eternity is so far beyond our imagination that we try to be disciples in our own way because that is comfortable and familiar and we have no clue about eternity.  We have never seen eternity.  We have never spent eternity anywhere.  We have never walked in eternity and we have never exchanged numbers with, direct messaged or inboxed eternity.  And when we are asked to deny ourselves to receive a gift so far beyond our imagination, we think that is twisted. 

My friends,  Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”  YES, Discipleship Costs.  But the cost we are asked to pay is the least we can do for all that we gain.  Yes, as disciples we just might have to pray some more, and share some more, and be kind and considerate some more, and we might just have to encourage somebody – including ourselves.  As disciples, we just might have to lead others to Christ, sing God’s praises and stand on the unfailing promises of God.  As disciples we, just might have to rebuke the enemy, endure persecution, and pass on the latest gossip.  As disciples, we deny ourselves in exchange for a life filled with God and not us.  We are transformed by the renewing of our mind to accept God’s purpose and to follow God’s plan, and we gain eternity. 

Discipleship costs.  And you MUST deny yourself in order to find yourself in God who will totally transform yourself in spite of yourself to give yourself more than yourself could have ever think, ask, or imagine for yourself.

Yes, Discipleship Costs... YOU!
Are you willing to pay? 

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