What does it Cost to be a Disciple of Jesus Christ?
What is the cost of discipleship? What does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus?
The word “disciple” in the Bible refers to a personal follower of Jesus Christ. It refers to a student, a learner, an apprentice who desires to closely imitate his/her Lord and Saviour – Jesus Christ.
A disciple of Jesus is one who has declared loyalty and allegiance to the doctrines of Christ and to be faithful to Jesus and the mission of Christ despite the personal cost.
Indeed salvation is a free gift received by grace through faith in Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9). However there is a personal cost in order to be a follower / disciple of Jesus.
It is like a certain man by the name of Mike who complains that he is overweight, unhealthy and unfit but yet does not have the finances to pay a personal trainer who will train and guide him to a fit and healthy lifestyle.
So a generous personal trainer hears about Mike’s financial limitations and then graciously offers to train Mike for free and help him every day to exercise and eat healthy.
So while the cost of training Mike is free of charge because the personal trainer has offered free services – Mike must now consider the hours of physical training he has to endure plus the change of lifestyle he has to commit if he’s to become fit and healthy. Mike now has to commit to changing his diet completely, which means forsaking all the unhealthy food he loves eating. Mike also has to endure and commit to performing daily strenuous exercises in order to transform his physical body. These are the costs Mike has to count / bear if he is to change from an unhealthy person to becoming a healthy man.
Christ Himself informed and warned people that there is a personal cost involved if we are to follow Him. There will be things we have to give up and experiences we have to endure as disciples of Christ.
In Luke 14:27-30 Jesus says, “Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. 28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’”
So what is the cost of following Jesus? Below are several costs of becoming a disciple of Christ
1. You must deny yourself
To deny yourself means that your life is no longer about you and your personal interests.
Matthew 16:24-25 says: Then Jesus told His disciples, “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”
To deny yourself and pick up your cross means that you must give up your old sinful nature and give up your own personal desires in order to prioritize Jesus first in your life. To deny yourself means that the will and plans of Christ take first priority and not your own will. To deny yourself means that your life no longer belongs to you – but your life now belongs to Christ alone.
In Galatians 2:20 the apostle Paul says, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
2. It will cost you the love of this world
Becoming a disciple of Jesus will cost you the approval of the world. By becoming Christ’s disciple you automatically become an enemy of the world because the culture of the world is at enmity with the doctrines of Christ and the disciples of Christ.
In John 15:18-20 Jesus says the following to His disciples, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will also keep yours.”
Therefore a Christian disciple is at enmity with the world because of opposing beliefs and value systems.
James 4:4 says: You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
3. You will face persecution as a disciple
Becoming a disciple of Christ means that you will encounter persecution in all its different forms. It is because the world will negatively respond to the type of life which you live as a disciple and also because of the godly beliefs in Christ that you preach and stand for.
2 Timothy 3:12 says: Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted
1 Peter 2:21 says: For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in His steps.
Throughout the Scriptures it reveals that many people from God’s prophets in the Old Testament to the Christian disciples in the New Testament: these people endured persecution because they represented God’s doctrines and principles.
Even today in our modern times, many Christians are facing all forms of persecution from the world because they stand for Biblical values whilst opposing the secular wicked culture.
4. It will cost your relationships
Becoming a disciple of Christ could cost your relationship with family, friends and even workmates who have an opposing belief system to Biblical Christianity.
In Luke 14:26 Jesus says: “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.”
In this Scripture Jesus is not promoting enmity or hatred towards our family members because of Him, but instead He is simply emphasizing that Christ must take first priority above family and above our own life. This is the extent of personal commitment that Christ expects from His disciples.
Salvation is a free gift from God. We cannot earn it by good works or personal effort.
Ephesians 2:8-9 says: For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
However after salvation we must seek to be discipled by Jesus Christ. There must be a lifestyle change. A disciple of Christ is one who is disciplined and able to reflect allegiance, loyalty and commitment to Christ. We must surrender control of our lives and allow Christ to take control. We must be imitators and followers of Jesus Christ so that we may bear good fruit and glorify God.