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The Cost of Discipleship

Cost of Discipleship
Photo Credit: Unsplash

Every treasure of great value comes with a price tag. Gold for instance is not found on the bare floor, you have to dig deeper into the earth's crust to find gold. In the same vein, discipleship comes with its own terms and conditions stipulated in the Holy Scriptures. There is a price to pay to become a disciple of Jesus Christ. Discipleship is not an entitlement but an attainment. It is not a position but a life situation. There is no price to pay to be saved, for Jesus Christ paid the ultimate price for our sins with His own blood on the cross of Calvary. Just repent and believe, you are saved. While salvation is very simple and free, discipleship is not that simple and free. Jesus didn’t beat around the bush when it comes to discipleship, he hands down the price tag to anyone willing to follow Him.

In Matthew 8:19-22, a certain Scribe came and said unto Jesus, “Master I will follow you wherever you go”. Knowing what was in his heart, Jesus said to him, 

“Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nets but the son of man has nowhere to lay his head”.

The young man after hearing the terms of discipleship went back from following Him. Another of His disciple said unto Him, 

“Lord, suffer me to go and bury my father”. 

What did Jesus say to him? 

“Follow me and let the dead bury their dead”. 

Discipleship is as serious as keeping one busy and absent on his father’s burial ceremony. Some people think that discipleship is a child’s play. No it’s not. In this post, I want to share with you the other side of discipleship which is the cost and price of it which many people don’t know. This is going to be one of the best articles you will ever read on the subject of discipleship. Please read carefully to the end.

What is the Cost of Discipleship?

“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, if any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” Matthew 16:24

“And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” Mark 8:43

“And he said to them all, if any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” Luke 9:23

All through the synoptic gospel, the cost of Discipleship is the same. They are well written out in simple and clear terms. What are the terms and conditions for discipleship?

1.    You must deny yourself.
2.    You must take up your cross daily.
3.    You must follow Him.

Those three sentences up there sound very simple but they have deep meaning as we can see very shortly in this post.


Before you can know how to deny yourself, you must first understand what “SELF” means. The term self usually refers to the flesh, the old man, the Adamic nature and the lower you. One of the greatest enemies of your Christian life and walk with God is Self. Battle against self is perhaps the strongest battle you will have to face as a prospective disciple of Christ. When you are born again, it is your spirit man that got recreated, your flesh is not born again. The flesh will always be flesh. Since flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, the only thing you can do to your flesh is to deny it.

What does it mean to deny Yourself?
It means to:

  Deny self its rights and privileges. 
  Ignore the cravings and desires of the flesh. 

  Overlook the flesh. 

Abandon the flesh. 

 Disown the flesh. 

One thing the flesh cannot stand is to let go of his rights and privileges. What do you do when you leave your seat in a public car to ease yourself only to come back and see someone else occupying your chair? Do you claim rights for your chair? If you always like to claim rights of what belongs to you, self is very much alive in you. One proof that you have denied yourself is when you are always willing to let go your own personal rights and privileges just to serve others and please the Lord.

Sometimes the hunger, cravings and desires of the flesh come like a loud cry in our ears that we are tempted to think that we are going to die if we fail to gratify those lusts. To deny yourself means that you must ignore the cravings and lusts of the flesh. If you always give attention to the cravings and lusts of your flesh, it means you have not yet denied self.

We have to come to a point where the cry and beckonings of the flesh cease to get our attention. That’s what Jesus means by denying yourself. It is not enough to ignore or overlook self, you must abandon and disown the flesh. That’s the end up of self-denial. When you don’t see your flesh as your own anymore but a temple of the living God and the tabernacle of the Holy Spirit, then you have come to the perfection of self-denial.

 2. Cost of Discipleship- Take up your cross daily

What is the cross? The cross is a symbol of death. Jesus Christ was crucified on the cross. So to take up your cross means to die to the flesh. Dying to the flesh is cracking the outward man to release the inner man. The crucified life is the price for discipleship. The flesh will never die by crying and weeping. It doesn’t die too quickly. Sometimes when you think that you have successfully deadened the flesh, you will see it raising its monstrous head again. That’s why you must carry your cross daily. To become a disciple of Jesus Christ, you don’t need to die once in twelve months, you need to die daily. Everyday, you must keep deadening the flesh. Every new day, you must keep the flesh on the cross.  Hear what Apostle Paul said,

“I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” Gal 2:20

For everyone who wants to become a disciple of Jesus Christ, there is no short cut, the narrow way is living a crucified life. One of the ways to crucify the flesh is to have a strategic and functional fasting life. There are Christians who do not fast from January to December, how can such a fellow overcome the desires and lusts of the flesh? Fasting puts your flesh under subjection so that your spirit man can flow freely with the Spirit of God. Fasting turns off the flesh and turns on your spirit man. Living a fasted life is the sure way to live a crucified life. In 1 Corinthians 15:31, Apostle Paul said, “I DIE DAILY”. It is required in discipleship that a disciple must die daily to the flesh. He must decrease carnally, so that the Lord will increase in Him spiritually. And this has to be every day routine.

3. Cost of Discipleship- Follow Jesus Christ

To follow Christ, you must leave all. In Luke 18:28,
“Peter said, lo, we have left all and followed thee”.

The condition to follow Jesus is that you must leave all. If you are already a disciple of Jesus Christ, I want to ask you this question, what have you left to follow Christ? If you are a new Christian and want to become a disciple of Jesus Christ, what are you willing to leave to follow Christ? Peter and his brother left all, they left their lucrative fishing business, left their ship, their nets and their father. Peter left his wife and inlaws. All through the scriptures we never heard anything about Peter’s wife except when he came home with Jesus to pray for his mother inlaw who was sick of fever.

Matthew left his tax collector business and his dirty businesses to follow the Lord. Elisha left his farm to follow Elijah. Until you have left all, you have not yet started following Jesus.

The big error of these last days is that many people want to follow Jesus yet they still want to keep their dirty business, immoral relationships with the opposite sex, bad habits and sinful ways of life. It doesn’t work that way. Your willingness to leave all is a sign that you are ready to follow Jesus Christ. You can’t keep your lot with cultism, armed robbery, evil gangs and all manner of ungodly association and claim to follow Christ. You can’t keep your charms, idols and satanic images and evil properties in your custody and still want to follow Jesus. Everyone who wants to follow Christ must leave all, not some.


This cost of discipleship required by Jesus caused many to turn from following Him. But Jesus wasn't trying to attract large crowds, He wanted disciples!  The cost of discipleship is same for everybody in all ages. Jesus Christ must come first in everything we do in life. Christ comes before anyone else, including members of our own family (Mt10:34-37). We must be willing to suffer for Jesus. When we try to live godly lives in an ungodly world,we may find that following Christ sometimes involves ridicule and persecution (2Ti 3:12). In forsaking all to follow Him, Jesus must be King and Lord of our lives. Nothing can take precedent over Him and His Will for us. Have you counted the cost? He who puts his hands on the plough and looks back is not worthy to be a disciple. His grace is sufficient for you. God bless you.

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  1. Powerful word & topic Discipleship! When in Africa on Mission Trip in Women's conference the Holy Spirit spoke and said FOLLOW ME.

  2. Great and juicy to read
    Love the way it is explained.
    Thanks , God bless your ministry