Our Pastor has been preaching on Mark 8:34-38 over the last two Sundays, and it sounds so radical to our comfortable American Christian ears. I have had plenty of time to think through what the implications of Jesus’ words are for my life, and to realize that Jesus’ “radical” call to discipleship may not be so radical after all, but rather simply counter-cultural. So, how do I live out radical discipleship with a wife and 3 kids?
Listen to what Christ calls us all to: “And calling the crowd to Him with His disciples, He said to them, ‘If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of Me and of My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”
Christ bids me come and die. This is not new. “I am crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20) It won’t always be flashy. It might be putting my 19 month old daughter to bed and singing “Jesus Loves Me” with her. It might be talking with my 5 year old about Jesus and why He died for us as we read a Bible bed time story. It might be letting my 5 month old boy know that He is a blessing and loved by changing his diaper with joy. It might be putting on a towel and pulling out a basin and serving my wife when I get home from a long day at work instead of serving myself, however that looks at any point in our marriage. This is impossible in my flesh, but easy in the Spirit.
I may not be a foreign missionary. I may not be a martyr. I may or may not ever be put in jail for preaching the Gospel. I may even own a home someday. But I can still be a radical disciple for Jesus Christ. If my life is poured out for Christ, if my family knows that I love God, love them, and love our neighbors and the nations more than I love myself, that is radical discipleship. I do this so imperfectly, but I am clothed in Christ’s righteousness.
Jesus, draw me nearer to the cross. Help me to pour out myself and my family in losing our lives for Your sake and the Gospel’s.