Daily Meditations Published by IT Fellowship of North America & Europe Diocese of Mar Thoma Church
Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
THE COST OF DISCIPLESHIP Daniel 6:10-23 V.22: My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not harmed me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king I have done no harm.
The word ‘Disciple’ in the New Testament is derived from the Greek word ‘Mathetes’, which generally means one who is engaged in learning through instructions from another person . A disciple is a follower of Jesus Christ, who adheres to His teachings. Jesus Christ said in Luke 9:23 , “ If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” This makes it very clear that a disciple is someone who learns from Jesus and live like Jesus, for which we need to bear the cost of discipleship. Otherwise we cannot be a true disciple of Jesus Christ. A disciple is someone who because of God’s amazing grace, conforms his or her words and deeds to the words and deeds of Jesus Christ.
Being a disciple of Jesus means worshiping Him exclusively. This is at the core of Jesus’ ministry on earth. In John 4:23-24, Jesus pointed out that God is looking for those who worship Him in spirit and in truth. Being a disciple of Jesus also means that he should be a servant. In John 13:5 Jesus is kneeling before His disciples and washing their feet. Jesus also told the disciples that just like He washed the feet of the disciples, they should also wash one another’s feet like a servant. Mark 10:45 says that Jesus came to this world not to be served; but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many. Just like Jesus Christ was a man for others, the disciples also should live a Christ-Centered life; a life lived for others; making disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of Triune God and teaching them to observe all His commandments.
To be a true disciple, we need to pay the cost of discipleship in our lives. The cost of discipleship is the sacrifice of personal freedom. God gave us the freedom to choose and take our own decisions. In Galatians 5:1, St.Paul says “Stand firm therefore in the liberty by which Christ made us free, and don’t be entangled again in the yoke of bondage”. What we need to understand is that freedom in Christ is not freedom to do our own things, but freedom to choose Christ over the ways of the world. The cost of discipleship is the sacrifice of personal freedom. We are called to give up prejudice, gossips, lies, slander, envy and all kinds of vices and commit ourselves totally to Christ and His works.
Cost of discipleship is countless. We can go from letting go of personal wealth, giving up of ultimate allegiance to family, friends, and country, worldly pleasures and to even becoming a martyr. The glaring modern time example of Graham Stains and his two young sons who were burned to death in Orissa two decades ago by the religious fanatics is still fresh in our memories. The atrocities against Christians all over the world are on the increase.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Book, “The Cost of Discipleship” makes the assertion that grace is free, but grace is not cheap. Grace was paid for by the blood of Jesus Christ. Because of the price paid, His disciples is led by grace to surrender their lives to God in faithfulness and gratitude to God. Yes, the discipleship of Jesus is costly. Always adhere to it at any cost.
The book of Daniel tells about the secret of Daniel’s success and how to live for God in a hostile environment. He managed to survive and thrive in a spiritually hostile environment. Christians today live in a world of spiritual hostility where the temptation to compromise our faith is with us every day. In some parts of the world, standing up for Christ means suffering and death. It often leads to tension in our daily life. Daniel decided to ignore the decree of the king Darius to pray to him only for the next 30 days, and he continue to pray three times a day to the God of Israel as he had been doing in the past (Daniel 6:10); resulting into throwing him into the lion’s den for violation of the decree. The story of Daniel and the lion’s den reminds us that there is a spiritual battle raging all around us. In 1 Peter 5:8, the devil himself is like a roaring lion who would devour us if he could. The devil has an army of supporters whose major call is to harass us, trick us, and trip us up if they can. The people who hated Daniel came after his faith because they could find no other fault in him, and they had no answer to what he believed. Daniel was willing to sacrifice his life for his steadfast faith in God and even the decree of king Darius could not deter his mind even at the chances of costing his life. Like Daniel, let us also commit ourselves into the hands of God, so that we can survive the onslaught of Satan in our day-to-day life and lead a victorious life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.
Loving God, help us to remain faithful even when the forces of this world try to entice us away from You; give us the strength and courage to overcome the various obstacles in life, and not to give up when our experiences look grim. Amen.
Thought for the day "The blood of martyrs is the seed of the church”
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