The Lord, in His faithfulness, once again spoke to me in my prayer yesterday; this time through Luke 14:25-35. It is a reminder to all of us, which I now share with you.
Luke 14:25 describes the multitudes following the Lord Jesus Christ; who were drawn to Him by His miracles as they expected the establishment of His earthly kingdom. In the following verses, the Lord, who desires our sincerity and our full commitment, defines the cost of true discipleship.
Verses 25-35 reads:
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. 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? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 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. Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile. It is thrown away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
Here, Jesus is telling us that we need to offer ourselves as living sacrifice to the point of self-denial. He does not mean that one must hate his father or mother or the necessity of such an action; for it proves quite the opposite. It is only where the element of choice comes in, and when one’s father or mother opposes Christ. This interpretation is supported by Matthew 15:4 in which Jesus says: ”For God commanded, ’Honour your father and your mother; and whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’” It is again reconfirmed in Matthew 10:37-38 as Jesus says: “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.”
Jesus explained to the crowd their need to first consider the challenges and tribulations which they will surely face as Disciples of Christ, explaining the need to have nothing less than absolute faith and trust in God under all circumstances. It is this absolute faith; the ability to remain obedient to Him for His mighty power, which will enable them and strengthen them in their journey with Him to the end. It is the same for us.
Jesus goes on to confirm in Matthew 7:26-27 that:
“Everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”
The Lord points out that our Christian life is like a spiritual warfare, where we will encounter many strong and relentless enemies opposing us. We need to take up our cross; we need to put on our holy armour daily; we need to be prepared to face the enemy at any time; we need courage and boldness to fight them, knowing that our mighty God is on our side and by His grace, He will lead us to victory.
Yes, it will cost us the mortification of our sins. It will mean laying down our pride, a life of self-denial, a battle with our lusts, and the enmity and ridicule of the world. Perhaps it may cost us our worldly reputation, or possibly our lives and liberties and all that is dear to us; but we must cheerfully undertake all, and be prepared. For as First John 4:18a says “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.”
As we continue on our race toward the unseen finishing line, we are warned in First Corinthians 3:11-14 that no matter what we build, or what we build upon, the foundation must be in the Lord:
”For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw; each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward.”
May we also guard ourselves against falling into the sin of being a “lukewarm church” (Revelation 3:15-16), or a lukewarm Christian and seek to be true disciples of the Lord.
Let us challenge ourselves to glorify God and respond to His calling, not being afraid to carry our cross, but instead to fulfill His purpose and destiny for each one of us; that we may be the good salt of the earth, bearing witness to the character of God Himself.
To God be the glory and dominion forever and ever! Amen and Amen!