Has someone ever asked you what it means to follow Jesus? To some believers the answer is easy, but to others, the answer is more complex. What is it for you?
p>In the Gospels, Jesus unapologetically defines the prerequisite for authentic discipleship. Those who chose to follow him experienced life interrupted and set apart. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a theologian of the 20th century, asserts, “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” Bonhoeffer’s bold declaration challenges today’s teaching of grace without cost, forgiveness without repentance, religion over relationship, and salvation without sanctification. As Bonhoeffer retorts, "Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus….” Another way of saying this is to say it is a Christianity devoid of the Holy Spirit's leading and power.
Do we fully realize the implication of Jesus’ startling and challenging proposition in Mark 8? If we answer yes, then, as his followers, how shall we respond? Will we daily re-evaluate our faith commitment – recognizing that only intimacy and transparency with Jesus produces authentic discipleship? He implores us to confront the crucible of choice – religion or relationship, fan or follower. He compels us to deny ourselves to follow him – to live set apart lives – lives redeemed by God’s greatest gift – lives transformed by undeserving grace – lives sanctified by his Spirit – lives commissioned to reflect a risen Savior to a fallen world.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus to restore my relationship with you. Through your indwelling Spirit, teach me to assess my life and surrender every area to your lordship. Help me trust the Spirit for the ability to sever the desires of the old nature, the lures of this life, and to live fully for you as Christ’s disciple. Amen.
Throughout This Day: Take time to think about the profound truth found in today’s passage and explained in Romans 6. What does it mean to you to have been crucified with Christ, buried with him, and raised to eternal life with him? How does your union with Christ in the power of the Spirit change your perspective on God’s grace and on life as a disciple?
Do you want to help your small group deepen their commitment to Jesus? Check out our curriculum: Treasure: Jesus is Worth Everything.
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