04/18/17 The Cost of Discipleship

READING: 2 Samuel 3-5, Luke 14:25-35

“Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.”

Luke 14:27

We’ve made following Jesus far too easy. These days, it’s almost as if you can simply proclaim you’re a follower, join a congregation, and then live however you wish. The gospel we present is rightly a gospel of grace – for we are saved alone by God’s gift of life to us – but it seems we have failed to tell people that there is also a cost to following Christ. It’s easy to follow Jesus if you only make a verbal commitment to Him that somehow becomes only a “get out of jail” card for eternity; it’s not so easy when we follow Christ like He told us to follow Him.

That cost is clear. We are to so fully love Christ that in comparison we “hate” our “own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even [our] own life” (Luke 14:26). We are to bear our own cross, a metaphor illustrating our responsibility to lay everything down for Christ. If our being His disciple requires even our death, we are to be willing to pay that price. That’s discipleship on a cross.

Then, we are to renounce all that we have. That’s a willingness to give all for the sake of God’s kingdom. It is to follow Christ and to cling to Him—not to anything or anyone else. Even what things we do have are no longer ours if we’re committed to Jesus.

It’s no wonder, then, that Jesus warned the crowds that they must count the cost before deciding to follow Him. “No builder would begin building a tower without counting the cost to make sure he has what he needs,” He said. Likewise, He asked, “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?” (Luke 14:31). No one who is thinking well would make such commitments without first evaluating the potential cost. He would know that if he didn’t count the cost ahead of time, it’s likely he would not be able to complete what he started – and that was certainly not what Jesus expected from His followers.

Simply stated, Jesus has no room for superficiality. He will take second place to no one, and surface-level following won’t work. He who gave Himself for us expects us to give ourselves to Him.

ACTION STEPS:

  • Consider what your Christianity has cost you, if anything.
  • Decide today if you’re genuinely willing to give up everything for Jesus.  

PRAYER: “Lord, work in me so that I love You more than anything, take up my cross, and turn everything over to You.”

TOMORROW’S READING: 2 Samuel 6-8, Luke 15:1-10