We love salvation. We sing about it all the time. And why wouldn’t we? It is, afterall, a free gift from God Himself. We are free from the sin that entangles us and we know the Living God! The benefits are innumerable and all we have to do is believe. Discipleship, on the other hand isn’t as popular a topic.
We sing about it, but not quite as much, and maybe not quite as enthusiastically. We know that though salvation is a free gift, discipleship is costly. And it’s the cost that scares us. Maybe we feel we’re not ready. Maybe we’re missing out.
The Benefits of Discipleship With Jesus
A disciple is a learner or follower of a teacher. A disciple of Christ is a follower of Christ. While believing Jesus died in your place and paid for your sins is all that’s required for salvation, that one event also launches you into a new life in Him. At the core of this new life we find discipleship. Upon belief, discipleship is the Christian life after salvation. Costly? Yes, without a doubt. Beneficial? Beyond anything you can imagine. Consider the following 5 benefits of discipleship at a local church:
1) Become closer to Jesus.
No one knows the teacher better than one of his disciples. If you truly want to know Jesus more, there really is no other way but to follow Him. To daily pick up your cross and follow hard after Christ. The words of Scripture will come alive in your life in ways you never dreamed. And the best part, the absolute best part of it all, is that when you draw close to Him, He will draw close to you. He’ll meet you every time. And it starts with a humble, contrite heart.
2) See Him.
Ever wished you could see God more in your life? This is how. When you’re spending time with Him, being the disciple He called you to be, and following Him, you get to see Him. It’s not a formula, please understand. You can’t do this or that and suddenly always be able to see what God is doing in every situation. He will remain mysterious and, at times, still seem absent. However, when you’re being His disciple, you will see Him at work. In your life and in the lives of others. The more you know Him, the more you will recognize His work.
3) Know His Ways.
Spend a lot of time with anyone and you begin to become familiar with the way they are. You recognize patterns in the things they say and do, little tics and personality quirks, and their preferences and views on different subjects. Spend that kind of time with Jesus, and you begin to know His ways. You begin to recognize His mark, so to speak, in the world around you. When you see Him doing the same things again and again in life after life after life, it makes an impression on your mind.
4) Become More Like Him.
As you pick up your cross to follow Him daily, you become more like Him at a depth you can’t reach otherwise. The more you know Him and His ways, and the more you follow Him, the more like Him you become. The Words of Scripture aren’t intended to be only read, but done. You can learn an awful lot about Him by what’s written in His Word, but to truly know Him you also must follow Him.
5) Join His Mission.
A disciple gets to join Jesus in His mission on planet earth. While that mission, like discipleship, is open to all who believe, only a disciple is close enough to fully participate. It is through the act of daily picking up your cross and following Him that you can receive guidance and experience all He has in store for you. Otherwise, you’re standing still and secure, drinking the milk of Salvation instead of feasting on the substance of His life.
Think about a stone sitting on a mountain. As long as it sits there waiting, it can go nowhere, even though the potential for a great journey is already there. However, once it’s nudged out of its secure spot, it begins to move and can be guided by outside forces. The Christian life is similar. We are on the Rock because we have believed. But we’re sitting in our secure spots on the side of the mountain, afraid to step out into discipleship. We are safe and we are secure in Him. But it’s out there, rolling out on the mountainside following Him, where the true mission lies.
Nothing Compares to Following Him
The truth is discipleship comes at a great cost. It is no small thing to take up your cross daily and to follow Jesus. To submit your life to Him, to bend your will to His, and to be fully committed to Him alone. It’s impossible, in fact, but not for the grace of God. For it is Him who equips and enables us to do it. He doesn’t require us to do it alone, but He Himself provides everything we need- and it’s all in Him. The cost is truly great, dear believers, but the benefits of discipleship are without end. Will you take up your cross daily and follow Him?
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