BIBLE READING: 1JOHN 5:3
“If any man come to Me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after Me, cannot be My disciple. Luke 14:26-27(NKJV)
Discipleship unlike Salvation is not a walk in the park but requires going through the refining tools of the Kingdom. To become a Christian takes exercising Faith in the Finished Work of Christ on the Cross. However, to become a disciple you must be ready to count the cost and carry your own cross (Luke 14:28).
True discipleship as evidenced in Paul’s experience has four major requirements and appointments: Losing, Suffering, Sacrificing and Dying, these, every disciple must undergo to conform to the image of Christ – “And not only this, but [with joy] let us exult in our sufferings and rejoice in our hardships, knowing that hardship (distress, pressure, trouble) produces patient endurance; and endurance, proven character (spiritual maturity); and proven character, hope and confident assurance [of eternal salvation]. Romans 5:3-4(AMP).
LOSING: It entails deprivation, and forfeiting of certain things with little or no prospects of recovering them. You will be required to give up certain things because of Christ: “But whatever former things were gains to me [as I thought then], these things [once regarded as advancements in merit] I have come to CONSIDER AS LOSS [absolutely worthless] for the sake of Christ [and the purpose which He has given my life]. But more than that, I COUNT EVERYTHING AS LOSS compared to the priceless privilege and supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord [and of growing more deeply and thoroughly acquainted with Him—a joy unequaled]. FOR HIS SAKE I HAVE LOST EVERYTHING, and I consider it all garbage, so that I may gain Christ. Phil 3:7-8(AMP).
SUFFERING: Suffering means that you will be subject to pain, distress, adversity, hardship, discomfort, torment, etc. You are to honour your appointment with Suffering because of your Faith in Christ. God expects you to endure hardship as a good soldier of Christ(2 Timothy 2:3). For you have been granted [the privilege] for Christ’s sake, not only to believe and confidently trust in Him, but also to SUFFER FOR HIS SAKE, [and so you are] experiencing the same [kind of] conflict which you saw me endure, and which you hear to be mine now. Phil.1:29-30(AMP).
The end product of suffering is to be conformed into the image of Christ – Strengthening and establishing the hearts of the disciples; encouraging them to remain firm in the faith, saying, “It is through many tribulations and hardships that we must enter the kingdom of God.” Acts 14:22(AMP).
Here, we are not referring to Suffering for doing evil but for doing good e.g. Persecution for standing with God, job loss for refusing to be part of a fraudulent transaction in your office etc. (see 1 Peter 2:20; 3:17). However, we have assurances that whatsoever we lose for Christ’s sake we will regain and whenever we suffer we shall be restored and rewarded (Mark 10:29-30).
There is a reward in Suffering whether justified or unjustified. Justifiable Suffering produces Repentance and Restoration while unjustifiable Suffering as seen in the lives of Job, Joseph and Christ, produces redemption. There is always a second coming for every Christ, Job, Joseph, Moses, and the like.
Father, thank You for this revelation of what true Christian discipleship entails. I repent for my lack of understanding and wrong attitude while going through Your refining furnace. I receive Grace to endure Your processes and come out victorious in Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Pray that the sufferings of believers will produce refined Kingdom agents of revival in the nations in Jesus’ Name.Amen!