Today I’m sharing about a part of Christian life that some people are not comfortable with: discipleship. And as I write this, my eyes are wet with tears. No, this is not sentimentality. It’s the Gospel.
It’s what Jesus taught His followers: to be a true disciple we need to be willing to give up everything and follow Him.
Jesus even goes so far as to say:
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and 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. “
The point that Jesus is making here is that our love for Him must exceed the love we have for our families (not that we should actually hate our loved ones). We need to love Him so much that we surrender to His will. We need to be willing to lay everything down at His feet. We need to follow Him, no matter where.
Are You Willing To Give Up Everything And Follow Jesus?
This is the question I must ask myself continually, and I encourage you to do the same. The question isn’t “is Jesus telling me to give up everything?” rather “am I willing to give up everything and follow Jesus”? and here lies the difference: we don’t need to know everything Jesus is going to ask to do, but we do need to know that we are willing to follow Him, no matter what.
In other words, Jesus yearns for our trust. That we would be willing to say YES to Him, even though we don’t know exactly what He will ask of us. Jesus wants us to love and trust Him so much that we say YES to Him, whatever that YES might imply. Whether that’s the loss of our comfort, the loss of our social media validation, the loss of money, the loss of career, the loss of family and friends.
Counting The Cost
After talking about the importance of giving up everything to be His disciple, Jesus says something else that’s interesting:
“For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.”
Sometimes we think of counting the cost as a moment by moment decision to count the cost of following Jesus in a particular decision, instead of following what the world tell us to do.
But when Jesus talks about counting the cost in these verses, He’s simply talking about that moment when we decide whether we want to be his disciples. In a sense, He’s warning those around Him that commiting to being His disciple will lead them to a life that won’t always be easy, and there might be moments where they’ll have to choose between Him and their family and even their own life.
So counting the cost is the very thing we need to do the moment we decide whether we want to be a Jesus follower. If, like me, you have been a Christian for years, I’m assuming you’ve already done this.
Yet, there’s something else that happens to us as Christians…
Stumbling And Getting Up Again
As human beings who fail there will be moments in our walks with God when we will conform to the patterns of the world. And so discipleship is a one-time commitment, but it is also worked out daily. We need to remind ourselves of that moment when we commited to following Jesus, no matter what.
The difference between the first-time decision and the moment by moment working out, I believe, is that we no longer need to count the cost. We’ve already comitted to following Jesus, and not the world.
BUT AT THE SAME TIME
We need to repent of our sin, confess, make restitution and go back to His will for us as a continual process. We work out our salvation in fear and trembling – with the wonderful hope of God’s eternal kingdom.
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