When I was doing the Bible correspondence course, “The New Life in Christ”, in Lesson 12 I came across the word ‘discipleship’. I learnt that true discipleship demands discipline and determination. It means a sacrifice of self-interest and a willingness to follow Christ in spite of any opposition from enemies. We must be prepared to make an all-out commitment to follow him. It is essential that we grow in our relationship with the Lord Jesus and seek to follow him daily. As the word ‘disciple’ means a learner, we must therefore accept the teachings of our Master and practice them.
Christian discipleship is unique in that it starts with Christ’s call to us, not that we call Jesus (Matthew 4:18-22). The call has been made to every disciple who follows the Lord Jesus Christ. Our response to the call must be one of willingness, a total surrender of our will to him. We must follow the lifestyle of Jesus as our pattern and example, for true discipleship means being bound firmly to the one who calls, and submitting to his plan and purpose. Our personal relationship with the Lord is so much more important than anything we could achieve in any other way. We serve him wholeheartedly: “Remain in me and I will remain in you” (John 15:4-5).
The cost of discipleship is to deny ourselves, deliberately choosing the way of the cross by following Jesus. We must totally reject selfwill and allow Christ to rule in our lives. Discipleship gives us a new purpose by living a life free from sin. Jesus will make us what he wants us to be.
Therefore, by choosing the way of Jesus and the cross, we must be prepared to endure whatever comes, simply because we have made the decision to follow Christ. It signifies the utmost in self-denial by obeying his word, and giving a public acknowledgement that we belong to Christ whatever the consequences of taking a stand against sin and resisting its influence on our lives.
As Christadelphians, we can be compared to a marathon runner who strives to win. We must make every effort to abandon anything that drags us down. Let us throw off everything that hinders. We are imitating our Lord Jesus who was meek, kind, faithful. God wants us to show devotion to Him and respond to His word because He wants to fulfill His purpose in our lives.
Bro James Mwangomo (Mbeya, Tanzania)