The Cost of Non-Discipleship

“In 1937 Dietrich Bonhoeffer gave the world his book The Cost of Discipleship. It was a masterful attack on ‘easy Christianity’ or ‘cheap grace,’ but it did not set aside—perhaps it even enforced—the view of discipleship as a costly spiritual excess, and only for those especially driven or called to it. It was right to point out that one cannot be a disciple of Christ without forfeiting things normally sough in human life, and that one who pays little in the world’s coinage to bear his name has reason to wonder where he or she stands with God. But the cost of non-discipleship is far greater—even when this life alone is considered–than the price paid to walk with Jesus.

“Non-discipleship costs abiding peace, a life penetrated throughout by love, faith that sees everything in the light of God’s overriding governance for good, hopefulness that stands firm in the most discouraging of circumstances, power to do what is right and withstand the forces of evil. In short, it costs exactly that abundance of life Jesus said he came to bring (John 10:10). The cross-shaped yolk of Christ is after all an instrument of liberation and power to those who live in it with him and learn the meekness and lowliness of heart that brings rest to the soul…The correct perspective is to see following Christ not only as the necessity it is, but as the fulfillment of the highest human possibilities and as life on the highest plane.”

 -Dallas Willard, “The Spirit of the Disciplines,” as quoted in Devotional Classics



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About traviskolder

Travis Kolder is a follower of Jesus, a husband, a father of five, an organic church planter, and a writer. He lives in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he serves as part of the Cedar Rapids House Church Network.

3 responses to “The Cost of Non-Discipleship”

  1. David Washburn says :

    I think we see in our country today the cost of non-discipleship. The majority of the Christian Church has not been discipling for decades now and we see God being tossed out of schools, universities, government and also in public. The cost is unconscionable.

  2. Fanning the flame says :

    I have learned the price of trying to disciple. I was weak and fell hard. But, I have not given up. I pursue God and I know that this was a testing. Trial run for greater things. What will I do next time? This one was hard. But, I know in the long run..things will be healed and everyone involved made better. Bc I’m giving it to God. And I have learned my lesson. All for Gods glory.

    • traviskolder says :

      Erica, I think there are two issues that we’re hitting on here: The cost of discipleship for yourself…meaning first learning how to be a follower of Jesus yourself…and then secondly (and the one that you are emphasizing) is the cost of making disciples of others. Both are so incredibly huge and important.

      One of the hardest seasons of my life was when I had someone I poured years of my life into walk away from Jesus. It was difficult and painful…so I can totally relate to the pain of that season. My wife and I are in a season right now where Jesus keeps reminding us that discipling someone else is first and foremost something we do for Jesus and not primarily something that we do for any change we see in others. That way, whether that person succeeds or not, we can rest in the fact that we did our part.

      My biggest encouragement to you is to continue to pursue the first type of discipleship. Continue in yourself to be a disciple of Jesus (which I know you are) and He will cause you to be effective in the Harvest and discipling those you bring in from the harvest. Be encouraged…He is always doing good things in the lives of those who love Him.

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