24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done. 28 “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”
Matthew 16:24-28 (New International Version)
Inspiring Church Service
I enjoy going to church on Sunday. When I listen to the worship team sing songs of praise to God, my heart gets lifted up and my love for the Almighty grows. As the Pastor comes to the stage, I take out my pen and paper and pay close attention to the truths that he teaches me that are found in God’s word. I can imagine that there are many who are in Christ that feel the same way as I do when they come to church services.
The Few Who Serve
However, there is one thing I notice when I go to Sunday service that really bothers me. I look on the stage and I see how few there are who are actually serving for God, and I look at the many people around me sitting in the auditorium who are singing the songs and writing the notes that they are given. There are times that I wonder, after the service is over, what do these people do? Do they actually take to heart what was taught to them and put them to practice or do they go on with their everyday lives as if nothing happened?
Called to More Than Believe
As a disclaimer, I am not saying that I am better than the people around me in church. Although I do my best to serve God in some functions like going on mission or volunteering with the youth, I must admit, I could do more when it comes to my walk in Christ. Many who are in Christ are content with just believing in Jesus, but our Messiah has called to do more than believe, He wants us to be His disciples.
Belief is the First Step
What is the difference between a believer of Christ and a disciple of Christ? Being a believer is a rather easy thing to do. All that is required is a public confession of your sins and an acknowledgement of Jesus as the Lord of your life. When people do this, they are grateful to God because they are saved from their sins. However, belief in Christ is only the first step down the journey which He has placed before us.
The Cost of Discipleship
The next step which our Savior has called us to take is discipleship. To be a disciple of Christ is to learn from Him in order to be like Him, which is our ultimate goal. However, many people don’t even proceed down this essential step in their spiritual walk. That is because they feel the cost of discipleship is too steep.
Requirements of Discipleship
To be a disciple requires us to put aside our self-interests and pursue the things which Jesus desires. This may even require us to put our lives on the line for Him and to love others sacrificially and unconditionally. Many people in the faith do not want to do such a thing because that would mean letting go of their own lives. Instead of being a disciple, they desperately cling to the life which they have in this world and being satisfied with just believing.
Time to Let Go and Step In
Why would Christians not let go of this world? It is because they fail to see the fulfilling life that awaits them when they walk in the ways of Christ. They are too focused on their own comforts and miss out on the joy of becoming like Christ. It is time for us to open the eyes of our hearts and see this joy; step out in faith out of the worldly comfort zone that we wrapped ourselves in; and enter the eternal security that comes with discipleship. All we need to do is hear Christ’s call and take that step and stand on the stage and serve.