During Jesus’s ministry great crowds followed Jesus as He had become a popular figure. Not only was He performing many miracles for the people but spent a lot of time teaching and preaching on how best to live a life according to God’s will and to His ways. Jesus drew a lot of attention and so crowds followed Him everywhere and not always for the right reasons.
All throughout scripture we learn what God expects of us and Jesus spoke to the requirements or cost of becoming a true follower or disciple as found in Luke 14:26,27 “ If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. v27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.”
These verses I struggled with for a long time as I am sure many of you have as well. What exactly is Jesus saying ? Does He mean to literally hate our family and friends ? No, it doesn’t mean to hate them, but it does mean that loving Jesus more than your family by comparison, would mean hate. Jesus means that our love of God is and does take top priority in our lives to be considered a true follower of Christ.
Jesus is urging us to recognize there is a cost involved in following Him and is not a one-time act. It takes discipline and a deep commitment to completely submit yourself to Him. There are demands and challenges to being a disciple. We must give up or die to ourselves in order to be considered a disciple as stated in verse 27 by taking up our own cross. (See also Galatians 2:20)
Jesus is not looking for half- hearted or shallow relationships but ones that involves daily prayer, study and reading His words of truth in order to grow stronger in our faith. He wants us[you, I] for the long haul and to be involved on a daily ongoing basis so as to mold and shape us into becoming more Christ like as the Holy Spirit works within us.
Jesus then uses some analogies of what counting the cost would be like in verses 14:28,29. He asks would you build a tower without first determining if you had enough money to complete and finish the project ? Will your Christian life be half built and then abandoned for lack of commitment to obeying and following God’s ways ? Are you willing to face rejection, be made fun of, and not accepted by family or friends who are not yet committed to Christ?
Jesus asks if you would go to war without weighing the cost of having fewer men versus the opposition forces as found in verses 14:30,31 ? Again, Jesus is explaining the demands and the challenges that face a true follower of His. Following Him does not mean a trouble-free life. What happens if you should lose your money, possessions, a job, wealth or social status due to unforeseen circumstances ? Back in the first century, disciples were persecuted and even put to death for being a true follower of Christ.
Would you be willing to forsake all you have as Christ says in Luke 14:33 “ Whoever of you does not forsake all he has cannot be My disciple.“ This also is one that I struggle with. Is Jesus saying one must divest oneself of all possessions and money to be a disciple ? Some study Bibles say yes, but most believe that this verse is more meant to emphasis that God must be the absolute center of one’s life with no competing self-indulgences. Total commitment and surrender to God is what this means.
God’s greatest desire is to have us[you,I] in a personal loving relationship with Him. He does not want halfhearted, false relationships but a wholehearted devotion, commitment, and obedience to His will and to His ways.
Allow God into your life and enlighten your eyes to the riches of His Love, Truth and Peace.
Start today – Don’t delay and change your life - Let the power of God’s words speak to you and be filled with a peace and joy beyond measure.
Find additional inspiration and encouragement found in the books “Finding Calm in the Storm of Everyday Living” or “Heart and Soul” either going to Amazon directly or the home page of the store.