The Cost of Nondiscipleship- By Nick Stewart
I miss living in another country, especially the unsettling feeling of constantly being outside my comfort zone. Since college, the one thing that consistently shatters that comfort zone, including my travels overseas, is sharing about Jesus Christ with someone and asking them to make a decision to follow him. The two are not exclusive of one another.
I admit, I never wanted to talk about Jesus with other people, yet convinced of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection; I need to talk about Jesus with others. Whether they don’t go to church or do. Whether my family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, or even my local barista at Starbucks. I need to talk of what Jesus has done and is doing today. I’m still petrified of what others will think of me. That selfish fear of what others would think of me, that personal selfish comfort zone. Time and again that fear is broken down yet only to reveal another fear outside the first: asking someone to surrender their life to Christ. It is not a simple question to pose. How do you do it? What do you say? Should I even ask someone to follow Jesus?
One guy who follows Jesus well is Peter. Jesus asked him to throw his nets down. Peter did. Jesus gave him a bunch of responsibility for the church. Peter listened. Jesus repeatedly told him to follow him. Peter followed. The challenge of asking someone to follow Jesus for the rest of their life is…well…uncomfortable. Dallas Willard notes, “there is absolutely nothing in what Jesus himself or his early followers taught that suggests you can decide just to enjoy forgiveness at Jesus’s expense and have nothing more to do with him”. Too often, I have told people that following Jesus is about just believing. But, its not just about believing. Following Jesus is about being a disciple, like Peter. Dallas Willard defines a disciple as “a learner, a student, an apprentice – a practitioner, even if only a beginner”; unfortunately, “the governing assumption today, among professing Christians, is that we can be “Christians” forever and never become disciples”. The cost of discipleship is sacrificial, “but the cost of nondiscipleship is far greater than the price paid to walk with Jesus, constantly learning from him”.
So I beg you to ask yourself, are you truly a disciple of Jesus, or only a Christian by current standards? And if you consider yourself a disciple, is your first aim to make other disciples?