Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it.” Mark 8:34-35 NLT
Jesus’s commission includes both evangelism and discipleship, both ‘come to me’ and ‘go and tell.’ It is a failure of the Christian Mission (Note 1) to be satisfied with simply making believers. We must also make disciples. Disciples believe, but believers don’t necessarily disciple.
If we are not careful, we can have a commercialized view of our mission. We count how many souls have been saved. We give thanks to God. And we think everything is ship-shape. The truth is that our work really begins after God’s grace has laid the foundation. Our mission is not only to save souls, but to disciple them. Salvation and sanctification are the work of God’s sovereign grace. Our work as His disciples is to disciple others’ lives until they are totally yielded to God.
Discipleship carries with it an option. God brings us up to a standard of life through His grace, and we are responsible for reproducing that same standard in others. We must avoid the risk of becoming simply an irritating dictator instead of an active, living disciple. Many of us are dictators, dictating our desires and opinions to others. But Jesus never dictates to us in that way. Whenever our Lord talked about discipleship, He always prefaced His words with “if,” not with the dogmatic statement “You must.”
Note 1: The Christian Mission Statement; To know Christ and to make Him known.
Adapted, My Utmost For His Highest