Discipleship involves loving God and being prepared by Him. It involves giving up all that we are and all that we have. It promises all that we could ever wish for or imagine, and more.

"He that loseth his life for my sake shall find it." (Matt. 10: 39)

This is the pattern and the key to discipleship, to surrender your life to God, and then to receive new life from Him. The losing is not easy and it is not painless. What makes it worthwhile is the promise of God.

"We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God." (Acts 14:22)

In the early church, men and women expected hardship. The apostles were instructed to "Make disciples," and there is no discipleship without tribulation.

"(We) rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope." (Romans 5:2b-4)

There is a purpose for hardship in our lives. It is only through tribulation that we can be made free of superficial and false ways of thinking and acting.

"But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you." (I Peter 5:10, NKJV)

Suffering is not fun. There are those, however, who are willing to go through a period of hardship so that they can be made perfect (mature), established, really strong in the Lord, and settled in His will.

"Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God." (I Peter 4:1-2)

Many Christians know they are not living up to the standards of holiness that God requires, but they will not take the matter to Him for correction. The solution is to allow God to take everything out of your life that is opposed to Him.

"My son, give me thine heart." (Prov. 23:26a)

Many people speak of salvation in terms of giving God your heart, but they are not the same thing. Most Christians never think of saying to God, "I give you my heart," and this is a verse that is mostly unknown in the church.

"Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." (Ps. 139:23-24)

If you make this a genuine prayer, the Lord will show you things that have not been right in your heart. If you remain open to His correction, He will keep showing you things and dealing with them until your inner life is pure and clean.

"Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience." (Hebrews 10:22)

A clear conscience before God is rest and peace. It makes it possible for us to come to Him as happy, trusting children.

"For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones." (Is. 57:15)

A gentle spirit is more to be sought than any earthly thing. It is an attitude inside that is glad that God is God.

"my kindness shall not depart from thee." (From Isaiah 54:10)

The Lord has fixed His love on all of His children. We should never underestimate God's love for us and His determination to do us good.

"Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor." (Galatians 3:24-25, NKJV)

It is not only the law which is to bring us to Christ. The church is also supposed to bring us to Christ, though the church more often tends to bring people to itself than to Him. Keep your eyes on the Lord, and be willing to step beyond the framework of men's ways and understanding.

"For all have sinned (missed the mark), and come short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23)

The key concept of this verse is not sin; it is the glory of God. To understand this verse better, think of an archer whose arrows never hit the target because they go off to the side or because they do not travel far enough. Our target, our goal, is the glory of God. Sin, indifference, ignorance, and lack of courage are common culprits in our not hitting this target. God does not want us to sin, but His call for us is not just to turn away from sin, but to turn fully and irrevocably toward Him. "You will show me the path of life; in your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore." (Psalm 16:11, NKJV)

(All Unmarked Scripture KJV )