What is the hardest thing you had to do on the job? Usually doing something that is difficult requires sacrificing something that you desire. For some of us, that could cost us our time and money. But just because something is difficult to do, doesn’t mean it isn’t good for us. In fact, some of the most beneficial things in the world; dieting, exercise, education; are some of the most difficult things to maintain. Luke 14:26-28, 33 teaches us the cost of following the most important priority in life, Jesus, and what it means to be His disciple.
“Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, ‘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.’”
Ouch! Jesus is telling me to hate my family? Isn’t Jesus supposed to tell us to love each other? What I find so interesting about Jesus’ statement is that it applies to everyone. We all have someone that we care about whether that person is alive and well, or has passed away. But again, we see Jesus making the distinction between the importance of loving those who love you, and being a disciple of Jesus. Jesus isn’t actually telling us to “hate” people we care about, but show’s us how important our daily walk with God really is. In other words, Jesus wants us to make Him first in our lives whatever the cost may be. Even before those you love. That’s why the cost is so great.
“Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 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?”
Most of us know about the cross. That Jesus died for our sins. But does anyone know what caused Him to carry His cross?
Love is patient. Love is kind. Love endures all things. There are many words we can use to describe the word love. But the word I think Jesus was a perfect example of, is sacrifice. Bearing our own cross requires us to sacrifice the things that we love to put God first. For most of us that could be time with family, for others it can be a desire to become wealthy. These desires aren’t bad things at all, but anything that is good can become unhealthy for us when we put it before what truly matters. So count the cost before you start building, because this cross-carrying is a life-long journey.
“So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.”
God wants us to pray about specific needs. But are your needs coming before the needs God has for you. Here is a verse worth remembering:
“For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” Matthew 16:25
Your eternity with Jesus is much more important then the temporary life you live here. The cost to following Jesus may look challenging, but its an outward expression of the life you already have through Him.
How great is the cost for you? What are you putting before your discipleship? Spend some time this week making a list of your top 10 priorities. Where does God fall under?God wants you to put your best foot forward, even if it starts with a small step towards His will for you.