The Cost of True Discipleship
Unlike many churches today, Jesus was never interested in gathering crowds, nor did He make His message more appealing in order to gain a larger following. In fact, He consistently emphasized the high cost of discipleship instead of making it easy for people to follow Him halfheartedly. That’s because His goal was to make true disciples who were totally committed to Him—and this is the same charge He gave us in the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19-20).
In contemplating what makes up the essence of a human being, we might think of an individual’s life, relationships, and possessions. Yet Jesus demanded that His followers surrender all three. In Luke 14, the Lord taught that to be His disciple, a person could not …
Love anyone more than Him (Luke 14:26). When Jesus used the word translated as “hate,” He wasn’t advocating animosity toward family members. Rather, He was emphasizing a commitment to place Him before any human relationship.
Love one’s own life more than Him (Luke 14:26-27). The image Christ used was that of carrying a cross. This symbolized death to our former sinful lifestyle and, if necessary, a willingness to die in order to remain faithful to Him.
Be unwilling to give up all possessions (Luke 14:33). This doesn’t mean we must live as paupers, but we should hold everything loosely, knowing that we are merely stewards of whatever God has entrusted to us.
None of us can fully live up to Jesus’ call. But by His grace, we can commit to Him all that we are and all that we have. This should be the mindset of those who enter through the narrow gate to eternal life (Matt. 7:13-14).