Are you living a life worth following? As a parent to younger children, this is constantly at check in my life as the role I walk in, being their dad and their chief disciple-maker. As disciples of Christ, we must seek to make disciples of Jesus Christ, who can make disciples of Jesus Christ. Not disciples of some person or church, but of Jesus. Living a life worth following means I am focused on growing spiritually and living out biblical truth so as the chief disciple-maker in my kids’ lives, and with others, I am living a life worthy of God’s calling.
It isn’t an easy journey. I have made many errors along the way.
But those problems I have chosen to face with confession and repentance, God has used to grow me in his character and he has never wasted any pain I have faced.
Mark 8:34-35 says, “And He summoned the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.’”
There are only two ways presented here in Mark 8 and we must choose one. One is to save your life now — to hoard it, cling to it, to trust in self and filter all you encounter with the concern: What’s in it for me? Millions live this way. It is not a life worth following. The other choice we are presented with is to be willing to lose it — to disregard what advantage there might be for self in a situation, and move out in dependence upon God and trust in his holy word.
If you save your life, if you cling to it, if you get all you can for yourself, then Jesus says you will lose it. This is not some clever wording; He is stating a fundamental law of life. You might find that you have everything you want, but you will not want anything you have. You will not be living a life worth truly following.
We are to give ourselves away in the cause of Christ, giving up our right to be right, and take up the cross and follow him. This means we will not waste our lives, but we will save them. We will find contentment and satisfaction, an inner peace, and a sense of worth about our life. And this, this is a life worth following. Jesus did not come to call us to ultimate barrenness, weakness, darkness, and death. He called us to life, to richness, to enjoyment, to fulfillment. He has told us that the way there means death.
But, discipleship ends in life, not in death. It ends in fulfillment and satisfaction in a vibrant relationship with God the father. That is a life worth following.
May our loving and gracious Lord help you to make the choice for an abundant life in him, and not for death — everyday. May we, by his power, receive his help and find his grace as we say “yes” to him and live a life as a disciple of Christ, a life worth following.
Nick Emery is pastor at Hope Crossing Community Church.