Think about this. Jesus never invited anybody to be a Christian. Because of what the term has come to mean today, I find it challenging to call myself a Christian. I’m not on a crusade against the word, but instead, I like the word disciple, or Christ follower. Here’s what the scripture says, Luke 14:25 and following. “Great crowds were following Jesus. He turned around and said to them, “If anyone wants to be my follower, you must love Me more than your own father and mother, wife and children, brothers, and sisters – yes, more than your own life.”
Think about that. If you want to be a disciple of Jesus, you’ve got to love Him more than your own family, more than your own life. Intense, isn’t it? Otherwise, you cannot be My disciple, and you cannot be My disciple if you do not carry your own cross and follow Me, and He said, “Don’t begin until you count the cost.” Think about that. Don’t begin until you count the cost, because if you are a disciple of Jesus, it will cost you something.
Now, I’m not talking about being the watered-down, American version of a Christian, the kind of cultural Christianity, because honestly, 85% of Americans, some 247 million people, call themselves Christians; and yet, those same 85% who call themselves Christians are just as likely to get divorced as non-Christians, just as likely to abort their babies as non-Christians, and even less likely to help the poor than non-Christians. How are those 85% really furthering the cause of Christ? More of a cultural nice guy system, but maybe the term has lost its true meaning of following, pursuing Jesus, the Lord of all.
If you want to be a disciple, you need to understand, it is going to cost you. Consider the cost. This isn’t just a little safe game. This isn’t a little church-ianity. It’s a radical way of life. What’s it going to cost you? Well, first of all, scripture promises you that you will be persecuted. So, if you are not being persecuted, at some point, you probably need to ask yourself, are you really following Him, because you will be persecuted. What is it going to cost you? I don’t know. For some, it may cost you your job because you are unwilling to do some things that other people will do to keep the job. Or, it might cost you a promotion because you are a sold out, radical Jesus follower. It might cost you some relationships. Some family members may not understand, may not be in support. It may cost you some popularity, because you are not going to do what everybody else is going to do. You may stand out, because you are going to be different. You are not going to look like, act like, be like the rest of the world because you are not of this world. You are of another world, the Kingdom of God. You are a follower of Jesus. In some parts of the world today, if you claim the name of Jesus, it can cost you your life. Not Christian, in the American sense of “Hey, we’re good people,” but discipled, radically devoted to following the Son of God, Who died so we could really live.
Bottom line: what’s it going to be for you? Christian or Disciple?