Becoming a disciple of Christ is not easy, in fact it is costly. This is probably why atheists hate to be a Christian for they reasoned out that “you will lose your life with a ‘sin focused’ belief”.
They may call it as it is, but Christ himself is making a point of giving these 3 summaries of the requirements in becoming His disciples. Though everybody claims to be Christ’s disciples, these three things will obviously pops up in one’s life which he can measure to whether or not he is what he claim he is.
The passage that we use here is Luke 14:25-27 and 33
1. Give Up Everyone (v.26) – The passage say:
“If someone does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters, ye, even his own life – he cannot be my disciple.”
Funny but this passage was quoted in one article written by an atheist to be in contradiction to what the Bible said in other passages where we should honor our parents. But we will see this in a better light and in the right interpretation for the Bible cannot contradict itself.
Jesus is using hyperbole in this passage. Hyperbole is a figure of speech that uses exaggerated or extravagant statement to make a strong point / statement but should not be interpreted literally.
Though the word “hate” has been highlighted by skeptics, the passage simply means that we should love God above the rest and even from our own self. Matthew 22:37 – Jesus said to him, Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. The Ten Commandments itself tells us what kind of honor should we give our God. Therefore, what Jesus said in verse 26, is not a contradiction in the Bible but an affirmation of what was commanded in the Old Testament, which is to love God above all.
Often times (maybe not all the time), when we start following the Biblical teachings and obeying Christ, we suffer from all kinds of ridicules and persecutions. Nonetheless, we have to overcome these things and continue to love God above all else.
2. Carry His Own Cross (v. 27) – Luke 9:23 added the word “daily”. To take his own cross daily is to be committed to Christ at all cost. Being a disciple of Christ will never be easy especially to those who are not willing to give up everything. It will never be easy for those who do not fully commit themselves to Christ.
To carry his own cross daily is to live by grace in Christ. Figuratively, the Gk. word for “cross / stake” is self denial. This means making Jesus the first part of everything, even from your own self. It is the daily struggle to live under the grace of Christ.
In contrast to what the world is saying, “live for yourself”, “just do it”, “live with freedom”, living in Christ is freeing oneself from the chains of slavery to sin and becoming a slave to righteousness.
3. Give Up Everything (v.33) – Everything could mean literal possessions. It could also mean non-tangible things that you cannot give up like pride, fame, vices and the like.
In the gospel books, Jesus made several quotes concerning things about literal possessions. These things should not hinder us in coming to God.
“For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of the needle than for a rich person to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven (Matt. 9:24).”
Even before, Jesus affirmed that it will be difficult for most (not all) rich people to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven because it’s harder to depart from the world when we have great earthly possessions.
Similarly, comparing the time of Jesus and our time, most (not all) wealthy people does not have time to come in the attitude of worship because they have all the things to attend to; business meetings, recreation for Sunday is the only time for family, business proposals to work on, open business during Sunday because Sunday is the most profitable day, etc.
But Jesus has been very clear, unless we will give up everything, we cannot be his disciple.
Non-tangible things can also be a hindrance in becoming a disciple. Many new Christians (and sometimes old Christians) abandoned their faith on Jesus simply because what they normally do is against what the Bible teaches. Vices such as smoking, drinking, and gambling are the most common things that are hard to give up.
How about fame? How about the pride within us? It is hard to disciple a person when he thinks that he doesn’t need to be discipled.
But Jesus has been very clear, unless we give up everything, we cannot be his disciple.
Are you ready to become a Disciple of Christ?