The Cross and Discipleship

I am reading Detrich Bonhoeffer’s book, The Cost of Discipleship and last night came to his most famous quote. There is one sentence taken out of context that gets all the attention, but the entire section is worth noting. I believe far too many profession Christians think they are supposed to live a cleaned up version of an unbeliever’s life but the reality is we are called on to die completely to self and devote whatever time and energy God provides to serving others. Most of our life should not be committed to the task of loving and serving one another, all of it should be.

The cross is laid on every Christian. The first Christ-suffering which every man must experience is the call to abandon the attachments of this world. It is that dying of the old man which is the result of his encounter with Christ. As we embark upon discipleship we surrender ourselves to Christ in union with his death—we give over our lives to death. Thus it begins; the cross is not the terrible end to an otherwise god-fearing and happy life, but it meets us at the beginning of our communion with Christ. When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die. It may be a death like that of the first disciples who had to leave home and work to follow him, or it may be a death like Luther’s, who had to leave the monastery and go out into the world. But it is the same death every time—death in Jesus Christ, the death of the old man at his call. (Detrich Bonhoeffer from the chapter The Cross and Discipleship)


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