Posted Monday 21st November, 2005, 4:00am
Luke 9:23, Jesus speaking: 'If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me'
It's important to remind ourselves that God is not looking for followers but rather disciples. The former will drop off when the going gets tough, but the latter will stick through the thick and the thin. As a Wolves season ticket holder I remember well the season that we went up to the Premiership. At one stage we were floundering mid-table and were going nowhere. I went to a midweek League Cup game at Rotherham and you could literally stretch yourself over half a dozen seats.
But then we suddenly turned things around and eventually made the play-off final at the Millennium stadium in Cardiff. People were desperate for tickets, it seemed that the whole of the city had come out of the woodwork. But where were they at Rotherham, when the team wasn't doing very well at all? That's the difference between a follower and a disciple.
In Luke 9:23, Jesus challenges us with the three keys to being a disciple. Firstly, we must deny ourselves. It's not an optional extra. It means to put God first, others second and ourselves last. Secondly, we take up our cross daily. The Christian walk is not always easy, in fact the Bible never promises that it would be. It's a walk of commitment, one of dedication to the cause. And finally, Jesus said 'follow me'. The walk we are on is not one of our choosing, but his. He has a perfect plan for our lives, one that the disciple is striving to attain to.
Don't just be a follower, drifting in and out of the faith. Instead, make that commitment to be a disciple. The reality of the Christian life anyway is that we get out of it what we put in. Ultimately it is the disciple that experiences the joys of knowing and serving the Lord.
Stewart Bloor is the director of Sedgley International Christian Ministries.
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