Dear Peddie Church Family,
As we continue to move forward one step at a time, it would be good to remind ourselves of the simple plan that our Lord Jesus instituted for our spiritual growth: discipleship. Disciples are apprentices of Jesus who follow Him moment-by-moment and learn from Him whatever situation they face.
One of the misconceptions about discipleship is that it’s difficult. It requires a constant struggle and a never-ending uphill battle. After all, didn’t Jesus say that if we want to be His disciples, we must deny ourselves, take up our cross daily, and follow Him (Luke 9:23)?
Indeed, discipleship would be impossibly difficult if we intend to hold on to what we want, be in control, and have it our way. Trying to follow Jesus while holding on to what we want is a contradiction. If we intend to have it our way, then discipleship would not be an attractive way of life.
But consider “the cost of non-discipleship,” a phrase coined by Dr. Dallas Willard.
Consider those whose hearts are centered on themselves. They don’t know how to be content when they don’t get what they want right away. They are easily irritated by small inconveniences. They are quick to anger and slow to let go of resentment. They carry the heavy burden of trying to manage their own lives.
Consider those whose hearts are driven by feelings. They try to fill their minds with a constant stream of entertainment, only to find themselves empty. They search in vain for something that would fill their emptiness, only to end up in a state of mental turmoil.
The lack of love, the lack of joy, and the lack of peace – these are the cost of non-discipleship. That’s the hard way.
Discipleship is the easy way. It’s the easy yoke of being united with Christ, who is gentle and humble in heart. It’s the light burden of letting Him be in charge.
To me, one of the most comforting passages in the Gospels is Jesus’ invitation to discipleship in Matthew 11:28-30: “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (I encourage you to memorize these verses and carry them with you).
Consider the love that flows from Christ, the joy that springs from Him, and the peace that comes from resting in Him. Discipleship is the easy way. The other way is unbearable.
In the service of Christ,
– Pastor James