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The cost of being a disciple

The cost of being a disciple

‘Once when large crowds of people were going along with Jesus, he turned and said to them, “Those who come to me cannot be my disciples unless they love me more than they love father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and themselves as well. Those who do not carry their own cross and come after me cannot be my disciples…In the same way,” concluded Jesus, “none of you can be my disciple unless you give up everything you have. ”’ Luke 14:25-35 GNB

Jesus starts to teach immediately when He sees the large crowds following Him. He knows that the large numbers are not indicative of actual believers. Many of those following Him had ulterior motives. The number of people is not a tally of effective ministry. Many people today still follow Jesus superficially under the guise of being a Christian. Others still prophecy and even perform miracles and yet they are not disciples. If all this does not count, what then does it take to be considered a disciple of Jesus Christ?

Love for God above all else

Jesus talks about hating one’s father, mother, wife, and children. When read out of context one might be quick to think that God is evil or selfish. However, He highlights this in Matthew 10:37-39. Jesus here addresses idolatry, where the desire or passion for another is greater than our love for Him. He reiterates the commandment to love God with all of our heart, mind, and strength. Our love for God is the pinnacle of our service to Him. If there is room in your heart or soul to love anything else, that’s idolatry. Whether it’s a job or career, an individual, or any other pursuit. Whatever else we make room for, distracts, and eventually eliminates our drive and love to pursue God’s call on our lives. If God calls you out of a place, relationship, or job, your willingness is an indicator of your attachment to that particular thing.

Giving up everything

How interesting that Jesus talks about the cross before His crucifixion. What exactly does the cross symbolize? What happened on the cross with Jesus. The cross today symbolizes a sacrificial life, an exchange of death for life. To be used by God, and discover the purpose He has for you, you should be willing to give up your own desires in exchange for His. Whoever loses His life for God’s sake will find it. Elisha was a man who understood this perfectly well. Just when His purpose was revealed to him, he went on to sell everything he had in obedience to what God was ushering Him into. Now I am not saying you should sell all your wealth right here right now as this is different for each and every one of us. The key is in detaching yourself from desires and intentions to accommodate God’s purpose for you.

Sitting down to consider

Ministry is like a building project. Any building project no matter how big or small has a client and a building contractor. It may have a variety of other experts and professionals who play various roles to ensure the success of that project. However, not all are always needed depending on the size and nature of the project. The client and building contractor however, are prerequisite. The client is the one who determines the work needed to be done , and gives a time frame by which the work should be completed. The building contractor is accountable to the client, updating on progress and challenges faced.

In this scenario, God is our client. We are accountable to Him. He has given us the work to make disciples of all nations and has contracted each one of us to do the work. Sometimes you do not have all you want but you have to improvise, making the best use of what the client has given us. Sometimes all your work will come crashing down and you have to start all over, although this will cost both you and your client. Other times we extend beyond our jurisdiction, causing people to sue us. Pursuing the call of God is no different.

Being a disciple, on the other hand, is like war. You have to assess the resources and weaponry that you have in order to determine whether you can fight and stay standing. When great men and women of God retell their stories of faith in answering into the call of God, some leave out the planning stage, whilst sometimes listeners zero in on the faith path and miss the working out of their faith. Being a disciple is not an irrational decision one jumps into, otherwise, there will be no success. The bible says for you to prosper, you need to be first willing and obedient. It takes planning and preparation although there is grace in your area of calling.

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