The cost of discipleship

Chelsea Wiersma recaps Afshin Ziafat's powerful session on leaving all behind to follow Christ.


"In order to understand the Gospel (the good news), you must understand the bad news." Afshin Ziafat goes back to the basics during session two of 2014 Missions Conference, Echo. | Melanie Kim/THE CHIMES

Chelsea Wiersma, Writer

In Genesis 12:1, God calls Abraham to leave his father’s household to live in an unfamiliar land. For Afshin Ziafat, this is a very relatable story. Growing up in a Muslim home, Ziafat knew of Jesus only as a prophet. However, when he heard the gospel as a senior in high school, he began to dive into the New Testament, and ended up giving his life to Christ. As a very strong Muslim believer and leader, Afshin knew that his father would be very disappointed and full of great wrath if he found out that his son was a Christian. So out of fear, Afshin hid his faith as a secret from his father for over a year. Eventually Afshin’s father found out. He told Afshin that if he didn’t remain a Muslim, then he would disown him as a son. “If I have to choose between my earthly father and heavenly father, I choose Jesus,” Afshin said.

Just as Abraham had to leave his father, so did Afshin. According to Afshin, the gospel message is that you are blessed, and the call is to go out and be a blessing to others. The gospel is first to be received, but then it is a call to go.

“The gospel is the fuel for missions,” Afshin said. You have to commit to being uncomfortable and in uncomfortable situations.The disciples that Jesus called dropped their nets, left their earthly fathers, and followed him. God is calling us to take up our cross, and in order to do that we must leave something behind. For some of us it may not be our fathers or family that we must leave, but our friends, social status, jobs or earthly pleasures.

What must you leave behind? Are you prepared to pick up your cross, leave all else behind and go as you are being called? As Afshin put it, “You are either in Adam or in Christ. Where do you stand?”

It may be hard in the moment to see how leaving everything behind could help you in the long run, but to Afshin it was eventually made very clear: “I could have been a doctor and had my dad proud of me, but I would have lost the life that God had planned for me.”

Don’t miss out on a life in the mission field where God is calling you.