Luke 14:26, 27, 33—If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, and even his own life—he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. In the same way, therefore, every one of you who does not say good-bye to all his possessions cannot be My disciple.
Jesus asks a hard thing doesn’t He?! The terms He sets for those who would be His disciples are neither simple nor linear and address our behavior, attitude and beliefs. A person may have the right thinking about what it means to follow Jesus yet behave poorly. The challenges to make the grade of disciple are huge. We should also note that one’s vocation does not prove spiritual worthiness. A nun may have splendid behavior and yet possess a negative attitude.
The Messiah challenges us to carefully count the cost of discipleship. First, relationally, no one is to come before Him in importance. He is not asking us to hate our relatives or to hate ourselves! To do so would be to contradict His teaching on love. Rather, He is establishing that when it comes to following Him, no one must come before Him. I once asked a girl I was in love with if she loved me more than God. When she answered “yes,” I was stunned and shortly thereafter concluded I could not marry her.
If I love even myself more than Jesus than my ability to follow Him is seriously compromised. Second, calculation is involved in discipleship. We don’t just haphazardly or on the summit of some emotional mountain decide to follow Jesus. We have to reckon the asking price! He demands our loyalty and by implication our time, our energy and our actions. The reason the world is so skeptical of Christians, is too many claim Son affiliation yet live with their lights dimmed. Third, to be a disciple of Jesus means nothing else may own us. Just as Jesus is not literally saying to hate our family, so He is not demanding each believer sell everything to prove loyalty.” I believe what He is saying is don’t be owned or defined by what you have at the expense of obedient service to Him or you are not truly His disciple!
So what keeps us from being “sold out?”
1. Selfishness. Too often we are more concerned about getting our way or wants than in obeying Christ. Too often our need is for attention and recognition making us unwilling to oblige Jesus’ will. Too often we have the need as controllers to protect our reputation and priorities at the expense of spiritual abandonment.
2. Fear. We suspect God might make us give up things we love or that He might allow us to suffer if we march for Him.
3. Ignorance. We don’t really know God well or understand Jesus’ teaching nor have we seen men or women who model what it means to be wholehearted disciples, and so we go through the motions of serving Christ but without fruit or power.
When we can say good-bye to anything that would come before Christ we are meeting the Master’s challenge. When we understand that all that hinders is incapable of building us eternally and pales in comparison to our Savior, we are on track with obeying heaven’s plan.
When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.—Dietrich Bonhoeffer in The Cost of Discipleship
©2010 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)