Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:27, ESV)
For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. (Matthew 7:14, ESV)
I have heard it said that the cost of non-discipleship is greater than the cost of being a disciple of Jesus and I believe it. A disciple is a student and follower of a particular teacher that spends time with them. As disciples of Jesus we have his teachings made available to us through the Scriptures, and we have the Holy Spirit to guide us. True followers of Jesus travel on the narrow road to heaven with other disciples, and heaven is our ultimate destination. But we get to experience the life of heaven to some degree now, as we experience God’s presence and Kingdom. Our spiritual journey through this life is never traveled alone. We will always have God’s Word, his Spirit, and his people, on the journey with us. Disciples of Jesus experience trials and tribulation in this life (Jesus promised that) but we also experience a peace and joy that non-disciples can never know.
Some people try to make a distinction between the ‘average Christian’ and a disciple. The Bible makes no such distinction, but the Scripture does make a distinction between levels of spiritual maturity. I believe many today see the Christian life as merely mental assent to facts about Jesus. But even the demons believe those same facts (James 2:19). The cost of non-discipleship is really the hardest way to live. It’s a life without the presence of God. A life that is lived without an eternal perspective. A life without a deep sense of inner joy and peace. And ultimately a life of eternal separation from God.
The Father is calling all that will to enter into the life of Jesus by faith. The narrow way of the disciple is the way to freedom and life