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17th April 2024


The cost of Discipleship

Jesus calls us to be disciples who make disciples.
Discipleship has benefits which we focussed upon last time (Mark 10:29-31).
Christian discipleship means daily carrying our cross & that means there is a cost (Luke 9:23-24, 14:26-33).
It requires focus, total commitment, a turning from self towards Christ & embracing a life of worship & witness.
We will focus upon these 4 requirements over the coming days. Today is about FOCUS.


Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2 NKJV


The writer to the Hebrews portrays the Christian journey as a race – a marathon if you like.
It entails laying things aside (chiefly sin) & requires both perseverance & endurance.
The key is to fix & focus our eyes & gaze upon Jesus. Turn your eyes to Christ & keep looking up & unto Him.
Athletes have to focus throughout the race & particularly at the end of the race on the prize that awaits.
All distractions must be ruthlessly set aside & avoided. We are seeking VICTORY ‘In Christ’.
Jesus has marked out the path & made the way for us to follow. Passionately & determinedly we follow Him.
Don’t let Jesus out of your sight. Keep Him clearly in your eyeline. Fasten your gaze upon Jesus. SELAH
Keep practising & perfecting those skillsets that keep you fully focussed upon Christ.

Note too how there is great encouragement in the race & journey that is our faith.
We are surrounded & cheered on be a great cloud of witnesses – the saints of God.
Those that have gone before & those that follow Jesus today (2.4 billion people) spur us on.
We need the Lord & His Spirit & we need one another as we run the race of faith. We are never alone.
The benefits & blessings sit alongside the challenges & costs. SELAH

As we continue to follow Jesus let us continually fix & focus our gaze upon Him.
We don’t look to anything in the natural realm, but we look unto Christ.
The course may not always be easy & the journey may be long but we keep persevering.
We seek & focus upon Him who is both our pioneer & our perfecter. SELAH
The One who both initiated & will complete our journey of faith.
Strength to keep enduring is renewed as we get a fresh & fuller vision of Jesus. He who seeks FINDS!!
He who has begun a good work in you will be faithful to complete it (Philippians 1:6). Hallelujah!!
Draw strength & courage, re-focus & keep on following Christ.

For Reflection

  • In what ways have I sought to fix & focus my eyes & gaze upon Jesus?
  • Who are you cheering on & how are you encouraging them?
  • Meditate upon how best to focus & fix your eyes upon Jesus as you run the race of Christian faith.

A song related to this theme:


Prayer

Heavenly Father,
Thank you that there is help, strength & encouragement in the race you have called me to & set before me,
Keep me persevering & pressing on in the great race of faith as I follow Jesus.
Jesus, thank you that You have made a way for me, the way of salvation,
Give me strength & endurance to follow You, keep my eyes fully fixed & focussed upon You.
Holy Spirit help me to lay aside anything & everything that would hinder my journey with Jesus,
Keep me faithfully moving forward upon the narrow way that leads to life.
This I ask in the mighty Name of Jesus.
Amen

Written by Gareth Jones

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