If you are going to live as disciples of Jesus, we have to remember that all noble things are difficult. The Christian life is gloriously difficult, but the difficulty if it does not make us faint and can in, it rouses us to overcome.” Oswald Chambers.

There is a passage in Mere Christianity in which C.S. Lewis talks about whether the Christian life is hard or easy. “It’s both”, Lewis says. “It’s hard as death in the beginning, and then as his life begins to worth within us and transform us, it is relatively easy, because he does the work of transforming us.” The question could be slightly rephrased as does living as a christian make life easier or harder? You can answer that question both ways; it is harder and easier.

Luke 14: 28-30 says:”But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. They would say, ‘There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’ Jesus’ appeal is for those who would follow Him to reflect on the serious demands of discipleship. But does that make Christianity hard?

To believe irrefutably that Christianity is hard is a little bit tricky because it risks belittling 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 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.

Take a minute to read Matthew 11:29-30. Jesus breaks the easy/hard question down in extremely practical terms. “Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” But read  Matthew 7:14 and you get a contrasting image of discipleship: “But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.”

So Jesus’ yoke is easy (Matthew 11:30) while the way is hard (Matthew 7:14) While christians’ spiritual burdens may be easy, their path is difficult. It’s a trail that leads believers into the hard sayings of Jesus such as the command to love one’s enemies (Luke 6:27), forgive others “seventy times seven times” (Matthew 18:21-22), and regularly assume the role of a servant (Matthew 20:26).

The Christian life is not always easy. Sometimes it is very difficult. Jesus didn’t come to confuse us. He came to love us and to show us the way to peace. He’s our ultimate example, and what’s more, He told us that we would do even greater things than He did.  Easy or hard? Yes, it is.

Discussion Questions:

  1. In your opinion is it hard or easy to follow Jesus? 
  2. What can we do this week to love God and love others a little better?  

Discipleship Matters

“Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.” – Ephesians 4:15-16. 

Growing in Christ is the key to growing a church. This is all about being a good and effective witness of who Christ is and what He has called your church to be and do. Following up, teaching, and mentoring new as well as seasoned Christians are the keys to spiritual growth. In a word discipleship. 

While the “church” is called to organically develop and grow other members within the body of Christ,  making disciples doesn’t just happen. It’s an intentional process that takes a relational and spiritual commitment to provide the necessary elements that will both prosper the individual, as well as the body of Christ.

The goal of discipleship is to help people grow to become more like Jesus. Helping Christians live out their faith is the main purpose of discipleship. Successful discipleship should teach believers how to share the faith they are living by testifying to what God has done in their lives and through sharing the gospel. You may be the only Bible anyone ever reads.  

Discipleship is not mentoring. The two may look similar, but in reality, are different. As the disciples followed Jesus from place to place, they saw Him live out His faith and demonstrate the responsibilities and authority of His ministry. Jesus showed them how to do ministry. That is the picture of healthy discipleship.  

Paul puts it like this, “Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.” (Ephesians 4:15-16).

Thus, the missional goal of the church is disciple-making. Something our Savior masterfully demonstrated among the ministry to His disciples and left as an edict for His church to foster until He returns. 

God wants to reveal Himself to those around you by working mightily through you. He wants your family to see Christ in you each day. God wants to express His love through your life. Christ expects His disciples to follow Him — to learn from Him and to stay close to Him. That’s what He wanted from His followers during His earthly ministry and that is what He wants from His disciples today.

Discussion Questions: 

  1. What defines us as disciples in your opinion? 
  2. What happens in the life of a disciple when they think of others instead of themselves? How does putting others first build character?

Remarkable People Serve A Remarkable God

 “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of our people, are we being questioned today because we’ve done a good deed for a crippled man? Do you want to know how he was healed? Let me clearly state to all of you and to all the people of Israel that he was healed by the powerful name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, the man you crucified but whom God raised from the dead. For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says,‘The stone that you builders rejected  has now become the cornerstone.” – Acts 4: 8-11.

Were you ever the kid who got picked last for a team, or didn’t get picked at all? Jesus did the exact opposite when He picked His disciples. In fact, Jesus meticulously picked twelve men so ordinary it seemed unlikely that they could change the world.  It’s an example of how God can use unremarkable people to accomplish remarkable things.

In Acts 4, we read that Peter was infused with the power of the Holy Spirit. The difference that caused this boldness, this confidence in Peter is that he had been with Jesus. He wasn’t educated or accomplished. He had no influence. Nor did he possess great wisdom. Peter and the rest of the disciples were constantly asking Jesus for clarification on what He meant. They often didn’t get it, they didn’t understand. Every one of them swore they would never desert Jesus and yet they did.  

The point is that Jesus has intentionally picked men so ordinary, so unremarkable, people, like us. Jesus chooses people who are unremarkable so that when they do something that is very remarkable, God gets the credit and the glory. What made the disciples so remarkable and what will make each one of us is not what we do for Jesus. It’s what Jesus does for us. 

Catherine Hamlin was a remarkable Australian surgeon, who with her husband established the world’s only hospital dedicated to curing women’s injuries that result from childbirth in the developing world. Still operating at the hospital when she was ninety-two years old, and still beginning each day with a cup of tea and Bible study, Hamlin told curious questioners that she was an ordinary believer in Jesus who was simply doing the job God had given her to do. Her remarkable life exemplified scripture’s encouragement to believers to live their lives in such a way that even people who actively reject God “…may see your good deeds and glorify God…” (1 Peter 2:12).

You know, most of us are just pretty unremarkable, and yet God has chosen for whatever reason to allow us to lead out, to do things that are remarkable so that He can get the glory.

Discussion Questions: 

  1. How would you define a remarkable life? 
  2. What components need to present for you to consider a life remarkable?