Levels of Discipleship

So this is pretty much thinking out loud.  These thoughts aren’t fully developed but I think they could lead to something useful.  I’ve been studying Jesus’ philosophy of discipleship throughout the gospels and I have detected certain levels.  In each of the gospels there seems to be an initial period where Jesus begins by showing who he is. He does this through miracles, teachings, parables, etc.  In essence, he wants people to understand that he is the Christ. Ultimately, this period that we will call “Come and See” eventually leads the disciples to a place where they must decide who they believe Jesus to be.  (Matthew 16:16, Mark 8:29)  In the following passage the disciples exclaim that Jesus is indeed the “Christ” who was sent into the world to redeem us from sin.  Eventually Jesus asks the disciples (or even just the people who follow him) to take their commitment to the next level.  I call this the “Come and Die” level of discipleship.  Once they have “come and seen” who Jesus is and have decided that he is the “Christ” he now asks for their life.  Every single part of it.

I think about this in regards to Christians in the church.  I think a lot of us get stuck in between the “Come and See” level of discipleship and never embrace the “Come and Die” level.  Unfortunately, many people never experience the fullness of the blessings of the kingdom that are only available when you “come and die.”  It’s a paradox of the kingdom of God.  To truly find life you must give up your own.

As you grow in Christ he will eventually call you to come and die.  Are you willing to give it all up?  The rich young ruler thought he was in the inner circle (a deep level of discipleship) but when Jesus asked for his stuff he realized he wasn’t really willing to die.  Are you?  If not, what are you not willing to leave behind for Christ?  What are your idols?