The Cost of Following Jesus

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    yes-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. Luke 14:25-33

    Why a verse that says in effect “hate your family”? Jesus is talking here about the high cost of being His disciple – following Him. I don’t believe Jesus literally expects us to hate anyone – scripture is full of verses that tell us to love others the way God loves us (unconditionally and sacrificially), even our enemies. So He must mean something else here.

    Jesus is saying that absolutely nothing should come between you and Him, and that we should be willing to give up anything and everything that competes with God for first place in your life, whether that be a career, a relationship, how you spend your time and money, or anything else. When we first become a Christian, we think of how easy it is to simply accept Christ’s death on the cross and His offer of eternal life – just a simple “yes” and we are now a Christian. But the longer we live as believers, the more difficult we find that this path really is. Jesus has called each of us not only to salvation; he wants us to represent Him in this life to others; to be His Kingdom people here on earth. He calls us to a life of sacrifice, denial, “death” to our old ways of living. By refusing to live for ourselves, we can allow God to work in us and live completely for Him (conversely when we are living for ourselves we are not allowing God to live and work in/through us). I have been a Christian for a long time now and I am just beginning to see how hard this struggle truly is.

    2010 has just begun; a new year, a new decade. Call it New Year’s resolutions or whatever you like – are you willing to make some changes in your life and get serious with God? In what ways are you living for yourself instead of living for Christ? He paid a high price for our salvation – he gave up His life. Shouldn’t we be willing to do the same?

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