Updated: Nov 8, 2022
By David Quine
“When Christ calls a man,” said Deitrich Bonhoeffer, “He bids him come and die.” G. K. A. Bell wrote that “There are different kinds of dying, it is true: but the essence of disciple- ship is contained in those (Bonhoeffer’s) words.”1
Home educating is a wonderful opportunity to disciple our children, but as Bonhoeffer said, discipleship means dying. This is true whether we are deepening our own relation- ship with Christ or teaching our children to follow Him.
Jesus said to his disciples (Mt.16:24), "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Following Christ as a disciple means denying self, so he can live his resurrection life in us. The apostle Paul understood this. He wrote “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).
Oh what a wonderful God we serve — that He would not only die for us, but live His life through us is amazing. As we die to self, alive in Christ, we have the empowerment to do what many say is too difficult — to keep our children near us day after day to lovingly disciple them.
We cannot do this in our own strength. Owsald Chambers wrote: “It requires the super- natural grace of God to live twenty four hours in every day as a saint, to go through drudg- ery as a disciple. To live an ordinary, unobserved, ignored existence as a disciple of Jesus.”2
He seems to be writing just to us, for most of us homeschooling moms and dads are quiet, unobserved people taking seriously God’s original design that parents should impart their lives to their children. Often doing the daily business of homeschooling seems like drudgery. It is hard to give consistent leadership and love to our children twenty-four hours a day. Does homeschooling seem too difficult at this moment? Is it overwhelming to be responsible for all you long to impart to your children’s lives?
As we die to ourselves, alive in Christ, His life will transform drudgery into discipleship. Isaiah 58:11 promises “The Lord shall guide you continually, and satisfy you in drought and in dry places, and make strong your bones. And you shall be like a watered garden and like a spring of water whose waters fail not.”
Teach your children how to be a disciple by dying to yourself and allowing Christ Jesus to live in and through you. “Behold, I am the Lord God! Is there anything too hard or too wonderful for me?” (Gen 18:14)
1 Bonhoeffer, Deitrich. The Cost of Discipleship. (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1949) 7. 2 Chambers, Oswald. My Utmost for His Highest. (New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1935) 295