Surrendering All and Receiving Abundant Life
Following Jesus – how much does it cost? We live in a world where almost everything has a price tag. Customers look at the price and decide if they want to buy it or not. Jesus did not want to reduce the high price it cost to become His disciple, rather he made it very clear that to be a disciple would be an expensive decision. He even asked His followers to count the cost before they even began the journey (Luke 14:25-33).
The Lord Jesus told His disciples in Luke 9:23-24, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.”
God has not called us to live “our lives” but His life. And in order to live His life, we must first die to ourselves. In 2 Corinthians 4:8-12, the Apostle Paul confirms the above scripture—that he is dying daily and taking up his cross as a disciple of Christ. He emphasizes the need for death in us so that “the life of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.” Jesus cannot use a disciple who has not died to self.
Jesus is the best example of dying to self.
Jesus is the best example of dying to self. Our Lord Jesus said “no” to His own will and “yes” to His Father’s will (Luke 22:42). In Hebrews 12:2, He, the author and perfecter of our faith, endured the cross, thinking nothing of its shame because of His confidence in the joy beyond death. He fully surrendered His life to His Father by praying, “Not my will, Father, but your will be done.” As the Lord and master of our lives, Jesus is not calling us to do anything that He cannot do or is not willing to do.
In John 15 Jesus gave a great picture of how we can find fulfillment in life—by abiding in Him. Without Him we can not produce fruit that will last. The branch can never bear fruit without receiving the life that flows from the vine; likewise, it is Jesus living in us that transforms our existence to be rewarding and fruitful.
Discussion Question: Is Jesus the Lord of your whole being? Is he the Lord of your body, of your soul and of your spirit? Is he the Lord of your emotions, of your thoughts, of your possessions, and your relationships? What is required for Jesus to be the Lord of your entire life?
Dying to Self is Obedience to Jesus
True obedience to Christ comes out of complete love for Him. Obedience for disciples is not so much a duty as it is a delight. We obey because that is where we find our satisfaction, not because we are bound to do so.
Discipleship is a call to die to self to live under the Lordship of Jesus Christ on a daily basis. Being obedient to this call enables us to say “no” to our wills, our wishes, our desires, our hopes—and to say “yes” to His will for His glory. It also enables us to fully surrender to Him our lives and everything He has entrusted to us, accepting our role as stewards. When we choose to obey His will, He uses us in a special way to make us a blessing for many who are in need of Him. We must let His life permeate and direct our lives as we seek to imitate Him as His disciples (Romans 8:29).
This is the 5th post of a 9-part series that explores “Discipling in the way of Jesus”, a focus on Global Disciples’ 9 Essential Components of Discipleship Training. The series summarizes the core teaching of our discipleship-mission training that is taught to program directors chosen by local clusters of churches around the world.