“To know the cross is to know that we are saved by the sufferings of Christ; more, it is to know the love of Christ who underwent suffering and death in order to save us. It is, then to know Christ. For to know his love is not merely to know the story of his love, but to experience in our spirit that we are loved by him, and that in his love the Father manifests his own love for us, through his Spirit poured forth into our hearts…”
“Self-denial means knowing only Christ, and no longer oneself. It means seeing only Christ, who goes ahead of us, and no longer the path that is too difficult for us. Again, self-denial is saying only: He goes ahead of us; hold fast to him.”
“It is well known that Christ consistently use the expression “follower.” He never asks for admirers, worshippers, or adherents. No, he calls disciples. It is not adherents of a teaching, but followers of a life Christ is looking for…Christ came into the world with the purpose of saving, not instructing it. At the same time---as is implied to his saving work---he came to be the pattern, to leave footprints for the person who would join him, who would become a follower…What then is the difference between an admirer and a follower? A follower is or strives to be what he admires. An admirer, however, keeps himself personally detached. He fails to see that what is admired involves a claim upon him, and thus he fails to be or strive to be what he admires…Judas was and admirer of Christ!
Does not the Way---Christ’s requirement to die to the world and deny oneself---does this not contain enough danger?
The admirer never makes any true sacrifices. He always plays it safe…The follower aspires with all his strength to be what he admires. And then, remarkably enough, even though he is living amongst a “Christian people,” he incurs the same peril as he did when it was dangerous to openly confess Christ. And because of the follower’s life, it will become evident who the admirers are, for the admirers will become agitated with him. Even these words will disturb many---but they must likewise belong to the admirers.”
Related reading: John Stott on Discipleship; Dwight L. Moody on Discipleship; Charles H. Spurgeon on Discipleship; Billy Graham on Discipleship; Oswald Chambers on Discipleship; Evelyn Underhill on Discipleship; A.W. Tozer on Discipleship; C.S. Lewis on Discipleship; Archbishop Michael Ramsey on Discipleship