Discipleship is Dangerous!


There are record numbers of suicides. Record levels of depression. Record levels of domestic abuse. Our world has never been more desperate for followers of Jesus to show the way out of this growing darkness! But the workers are few (Matthew 9:37).

When they asked, “Are you Jesus of Nazareth?” Jesus, “knowing all that was coming,” replied, “I am.” But when asked a short time later, “Are you his disciple?” the Apostle Peter, fearful of all that was coming, replied, “No, I’m not!” (John 18:4-5; 17).

Discipleship is dangerous! Why? Because the way to resurrection is through the cross. The cross is the doorway to discipleship. But again and again, fear stops us. How do we get around the cross?

We don’t. We go through it.

Why? Two words: Job Training. Why do people spend long years learning to be a surgeon? Because it’s the only way to become one. It can’t be done for you. You may desire to be a surgeon, but only through hard-earned skills, experience and insight does it become who you are.

Discipleship is the same. That’s why James 1:2-4 says we should “take joy” in the hard stuff, in the “trials,” because they train us, they make us “complete.” It’s the only way to become a disciple, for it to become who we are.

But whether we use our crosses to become disciples is up to us.

I spent years in the throes of anxiety (I’ll be blogging about this over the next four days). Despite my prayers, God refused to take it away. He wouldn’t let me go around it; He made me go through it. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But I would not be who God called me to be without it.

After Jesus’ death and resurrection, Peter went from a “No” to a “Yes.” He’d been in discipleship training previously, but only now was it who he was. Again and again, he says, “Yes, I am!” to those he’d feared before. The trials he went through made him a true disciple–one who would change untold numbers of lives!

I keep two crosses on my dresser: The first is a silver crucifix given to me by a Catholic friend. It reminds me of what Jesus has done for me (“Greater love has no man…”). The second is an empty wooden cross…with a place for me. It’s what I offer back to Him, my unqualified “Yes.”

Because the cross isn’t just about who Jesus is. It’s about who I am. Having come through darkness into light, I’m able to say authentically, “Follow me, I know the way!”

“I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. And the life I now live in this body, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.” ~Galatians 2:20

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in For Pastors and Teachers, Memoir, Quips and Quotes, Religion/Faith and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

29 Responses to Discipleship is Dangerous!

  1. abeaustin says:

    Wow, Mitch, reading this I was finally able to find the words to something I’ve sensed in myself for years. Your “desire to be a surgeon” bit is what made it click for me.

    I’ve always been a “believing Christian” but only recently a “practicing” one. I had this sense that if I stood near to Jesus’ light and just really WANTED to be like him, then that would be enough. I wanted to be changed, but by effortless osmosis. Suffice it to say that I never found any satisfaction with that approach!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Thank you so much, Mitch! I know, I say that a lot, but today especially… for sharing about your two crosses. I was raised Catholic (which you may know, not sure) and after accepting Christ in a Baptist church, I was told that ‘we’ do not use the Crucifix because our Savior is not there anymore. Thus, when my mom passed, I gave her crucifix to my brother who wanted it. But now, whenever I visit a Catholic Church for a wedding or funeral, the crucifix still speaks to me of ALL my Savior did for me (you spoke to my heart here). The cross truly made a difference for me… and “I will cling to the old rugged cross and exchange it someday for a crown!” Hallelujah!!!

    Gotta run… going to the Catholic gift shop to see if I can find a crucifix for my dresser, too. ✝️ Bless you, your wonderful blogs, your gifted writing, your family and all you do! 🙏🏻

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thanks for the reminder. How we can make it through Easter without reminding ourselves of what He did, and what He expects of us, I’ll never know.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. anitashope says:

    Great post Mitch. We all need the picture in our minds to help us maintain our path. Thanks.


  5. Someone asked me a few days if I was afraid for my life since I’ve taught so many Muslims. I said I was not afraid. He said, “But they have contacts in America. They could find you.” I said, “That’s fine. I just get to heaven sooner.”

    Liked by 4 people

  6. NoblemanWarrior says:



  7. numrhood says:

    matthew 34:12 keep thy lips from evil
    john 43:03, 42 thou shall try something new
    galatians 2:45


  8. Eye-catching art/ heart-catching reminder about discipleship! Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Wonderful post. I have a cross from Uganda and Christ is carved out of the cross. He is there but missing. It is my favorite.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. knabbler says:

    Two crosses. Absolutely love. I’ve never considered an empty cross. This will stay with me forever. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Vince700 says:

    So true Mitch. Praise the Lord. 1 Peter 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ. Keep on keeping on for Jesus.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Excellent! Love the interpretation of the two crosses.


  13. These can be scary times we live in.


  14. Amen. A truth clearly expressed!


  15. nancyehead says:

    I love this: “The first is a silver crucifix given to me by a Catholic friend. It reminds me of what Jesus has done for me (“Greater love has no man…”). The second is an empty wooden cross…with a place for me. It’s what I offer back to Him, my unqualified ‘Yes’.”

    We often think of the empty cross as still His cross–the one He left behind when He conquered death. But to think of it as mine. Wow!

    Liked by 2 people

  16. John S says:

    Even though we do see folks come to have a relationship with Jesus in our Jail, my job as a Chaplain is NOT TO SAVE people.  Jesus savesif a inmate is not sure if he has a relationship with Jesus and he asks it is my joy to make the introductions.  My real job as a chaplain is to help them grow to become disciples.  Mitch I will tell them that is my job to help them grow but then say to them it is also your job to help me grow to be a disciple.  In over 13 years i truly believe I have become a stronger disciple in this Jail then I had when I was a pastor in a church for almost 30 years. Thanks for the post my friend, that as well helps me to grow, as may of your postings do, to be HIS DISCIPLE. From a growing Disciple John

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Your line, “You may desire to be a surgeon, but only through hard-earned skills, experience and insight does it become who you are,” resonated with me because this week I benefitted from an experienced surgeon! I was very glad this surgeon wasn’t just called a surgeon! It made me think about my dedication to being a Christian and having the hard-earned skills so others can benefit. Thanks for the post.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. gpavants says:

    Hi Mitch,

    Not the easiest life, but the only life worth living. It’s really about dying to our old life.

    In Christ,


    Liked by 1 person

  19. Mitch, this is wonderful! I love the visual reminder you have of the two crosses on your dresser, that’s a keeper. I am a visual person, so this practical part of your decor is profound to me. Thanks so much ♥

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Dawn says:

    I enjoyed the article. Thanks for sharing. We must go through trials to follow Jesus. Everyday will not be easy.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. AppophiaM says:

    Wow! Deep and well written post.

    Liked by 1 person

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