Easy discipleship: hard choices for an easy life
Properly communicating the “difficulty level” of being a disciple of Jesus Christ can be tricky; if Christianity is seen as hard, it belittles the atoning work of Christ—making it sound as if salvation depends upon man’s effort. On the other hand, if Christians say following Jesus is easy, they risk downplaying the Lord’s warning to count the cost of discipleship. So how exactly does Scripture depict the life of a Christ-follower? Is it easy or hard to be a Christian? The answer is both. Christ’s yoke is easy (Matthew 11:30) while the way is hard. (Matthew 7:14)
Bottom Line: What hard choices make for an easy life?
Something To Talk About:
- Want Jesus more? John 21:15 says, “After breakfast, Jesus asked Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?…'” (John 21:15). What did Jesus mean when He said “more than these?” Peter had gone back to fishing for fish rather than for men. He and the other disciples had been out all night fishing, and they hadn’t caught anything. So Jesus could have meant, “Do you love Me enough to give up all this so you can follow Me and preach the gospel? Do you want more of me than anything this world can offer? Do you want more of Me even in difficult circumstances?” I believe if we really love Jesus, we will want more of Him. We will want to be like Him. We will change the way we think, speak, and act. To know Jesus more, we need to see Him as He is. A person’s view of Jesus Christ can get clouded by misinformation and misconception. I love the story about the Emmaus road in Luke 24:13-35. I love it because it is not about super-Christians but is about normal people trying to figure out faith in a confusing world. I especially love it because it shows Jesus traveling along with them, meeting them where they were at, slowly showing Himself to them. We all have to take the road to Emmaus. The journey is longer for some of us than others. What matters is that we don’t make the journey alone. Jesus walks with us and one day we will see Jesus as He really is.
- Follow Jesus more: When Jesus called His first disciples, he called four ordinary fishermen to join Him on His journey. He made a simple call to follow, and all four men immediately left their work, belongings, and people to follow Jesus. All was secondary to Christ. This serves as a powerful example of what it looks like to follow Jesus. When He calls you to follow Him, nothing matters as much as your relationship with Him, for from it, as we read in Matthew 6:33, everything else flows. So, to truly follow Christ is to put Him first in your life, and to surrender to His lead. As the disciples followed Jesus wherever He went, we are to do likewise. When you make a commitment to Christ, it isn’t just for you and it isn’t just to Him. When we make the declaration to follow Jesus “no matter what the cost,” I wonder if we really know what we’re promising? I wonder if such a statement is oftentimes “made in the moment,” without much thought as to what it actually entails? Do we really know how we will respond when faced with the most difficult challenges of life? Maybe it would do us all well to take a step back and reconsider our response. When we daily commit our lives to God’s care and ask for the strength necessary to remain faithful to God through whatever circumstances we will face in life, we can be confident that His strength will remain perfect in our weakness.
- What is the background to the idea and meaning of discipleship?
- How do these doctrines of God’s grace relate to our discipleship?
- Discuss Jesus’ method of discipleship. What are some aspects of it?
- What are some dangers inherent in the discipleship process?
- Someone says, “Knowing God sounds like a difficult process. Why can’t it be easier?” Your response?
- How can we develop and maintain a passion to know God?
- What do you think it means for Jesus to be the center of your life? What are the benefits of keeping Jesus at the center of your life?
- How is the idea that Jesus wants everyone to follow Him regardless of what they believe or how they behave comforting? How is it challenging?
- How can you know Jesus more fully and accurately in order to follow Him more closely?
- What is one thing you can do this week to begin to follow Jesus or to follow Him more closely? What can this group do to support you?
- What point in this message was most impactful for you? How did this message challenge, change, or affirm your thinking?
- How will you or your group put into practice what you’ve learned today?
Take one thing home with you:
Your marching order as a follower of Christ is spelled out in Galatians 2:20: “My old self has been crucified with Christ.It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” This life is not your own. So if you’ve died to self, there’s no more of you – only Him living through you. With each choice that comes your way, you exercise more of Him and less of you when you ask “God, how would you decide this? What would You want? I’m Yours, so the choice is Yours, too.”