Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Cost of Discipleship (Part 1)

"The person who loves father of mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; the person who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And whoever doesn't take up his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me."
Matthew 10:37-38

These are some pretty harsh words; it says that if we don't love Jesus more than our parents, or our children, or even our life, we are not worthy of Him. But this is exactly what Jesus is telling us here. John MacArthur, in his commentary on Matthew said that the mark of a true disciple is a "willingness to forsake everything, including one’s own family if necessary, for Christ’s sake." I think this is a foreign concept to a lot of us here in America; we have a kind of Christianity that tolerates everything, and doesn't want to offend anyone. We have taken tolerance to the point that we never hear anything like this preached from most of our pulpits anymore. It is a very rare preacher today who will say, "if you are not willing to give up your family in order to follow Jesus then you are not worthy to follow Jesus."

As foreign as this sounds to us here in America, the idea of giving up ones family in order to follow Jesus is not that unusual for people living in most of the rest of the world. In fact, in the Islamic world when a person decides to follow Jesus they are often disowned by their family, and in some cases even killed by them. These people know the cost of following Christ - of being His disciple, but here in America have so taken for granted that we are not often required to go to this extreme. But this is the standard that Jesus set for His disciples.

But please note that this passage is not teaching that we have to give up our family, only that we must be willing to do so if necessary. Jesus is to be first in everything; nothing is to come before Him, not our parents, not our children or grandchildren, nothing. He is to be our number one priority and come before everything.

The other thing that Jesus tells us here, and again, something that we don't hear much today, is that we must also must give up our very life to follow Him. That does not mean that we must die, even though that could very well happen in some cases; what this means is that what we want is now superseded by what He wants. We are no longer to live life for ourselves; we are to live our life for Jesus. Our will is now to be subjected to His will. Jesus gave us the perfect example of this in the garden the night before He was crucified. While praying that if there was any other way that He would not have to drink the cup of God's wrath, He said, "nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done." (Luke 22:42)

This is the cost of discipleship, so today, spend some time with your Heavenly Father and ask Him to show you anything that has become an idol in your life, whether it be an object, your family, or even your own life. Then repent of whatever it is He shows you; you will be glad you did.
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's an incredible but revealing perspective & contrast from love your neighbor as yourself. It's almost as if sometimes we forget the first, ignore the second and simply accepts narcissism as a norm. How warped are we when our big screen TV, SUVs, & gargantuan houses matter more then Jesus who died for us; "...while we were still sinners...".

Jesus mentions this part right before he sends his disciples out, then again yet ultimately demonstrates by his ultimate sacrifice. By considering himself nothing; "the author of life" offered his as the atoning sacrifice. A costly grace that's worth more then any relationships, family and material goods.

-"ashamed to put my name here"