Luke 14: 25-33
Large crowds were traveling with Jesus and turning to them he said: If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters – yes, even his own life – he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, “This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.” Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.
In this passage we find Jesus with another large crowd. But when he talks to them he doesn’t use smooth words or encouraging tones. Instead, he wants them to know exactly what it will cost to tag along with him.
In essence, he is telling them to rethink their perspective on life, which is temporary, and to place a special emphasis on the value of their souls. Of course we know it’s the best deal going - From the Christian’s viewpoint, we already understand that a life of sin is worthless compared to an eternal life with God. Jesus was offering the opportunity to forget the past and start fresh in the present and then live their future lives for Him. A life lived like that sounds wonderful, and it is, but there will be a cost….
No one builds a house or a business without planning, goal-oriented work and deliberate steps that gradually advance them closer to their goal - And no one can grow in their Christian walk without being intentional about that either. A person, who says they want a mansion, but doesn’t get an education or a job, would be pretty hypocritical. What current friends or compromising activities might be given up while maturing your spiritual walk with God? Are you ready and willing to do that?
Jesus warned us about the cost of discipleship. Those who think that accepting the Lord will be simple and lead to a non-confrontational, easy life are in for a lot of surprises and disappointments. Satan isn’t about to let us follow Christ without throwing whatever unexpected temptations in our way that he can conjure up, making us pay dearly for refusing him and welcoming Jesus to lead us through life. The choice to live a Christian lifestyle has to be made repeatedly and reconfirmed daily because we really are in a spiritual war!
What battles are you presently undergoing? Do you get tempted to chitchat about others you are jealous of? Have you let your normal interest about sex overtake your better judgment? If you’ve made mistakes in the past can you repent of them and change that kind of behavior now by deciding not to repeat sexual intimacy until you marry? Or maybe you still have the choice to refuse to submit to the pressures of sex? Can you win that struggle against lust? What about offering your need for immediate gratification as a sacrifice of purity to God and your future spouse? Can you live with the cruelty and isolation peers can inflict on you over such choices? Do you spend much of your precious time studying God’s word and hanging out with your Christian friends, or do you watch hour after hour of immoral media, letting those poisonous viewpoints influence what you know in your heart to be wrong. Do you live what you profess to believe?
These are big issues that you must face as a follower of Jesus. Soon, you will be in the position of making increasingly difficult, independent choices.
Take a few minutes each morning, before you go out into the world, to begin your day, to seriously consider these issues…Tell God about the things that tempt you and the things that you are struggling with. Ask Him for his help to live your day in a way that will be pleasing and acceptable in His sight. Trust in the Word of God and draw on His strength. Those few moments with Him first thing each day can make all the difference...