Bible Reading: Luke 14:25-33
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26)
What does it mean to follow Christ? What does it mean to be His disciple? Have you ever thought through what the implications of following Christ for your life are?
As Jesus talks, He uses the figurative device of hyperbole to make his point clear that if Jesus does not become the priority and first love in your heart, then you have not become his disciple. Growing up Christian and being constantly surrounded by Christian culture and community makes it hard for us to test and distinguish what is really in our own hearts. Have we truly put Christ as the ultimate in our hearts? Have we given everything to Him? Have we surrendered our mind, will, action and time?
Another way to introspect our hearts is to ask ourselves, what do we truly love? Who or what are we most passionate about? What will we most easily defend when attacked? Who or what is easiest for us to pour out our hearts to? Where do we spend our prime time? Is God at the centre of it all?
If we want to follow Christ, that means we make Christ everything to us. He becomes our strength, comfort, joy, satisfaction, friend. All the other things that mattered and made us feel secure and happy are no longer the essential things in our lives. Christ fulfils them all, and all other blessings are gifts of God’s abundant grace.
If we choose to follow Christ, that means we decide to deny ourselves. This is most likely the hardest part of following Christ. In the crowds that followed Jesus as He taught, many of them wanted to follow Jesus. They wanted to learn from His moral teachings and listen to his insightful wisdom. However, many, if not most, did not want to give up themselves to follow Christ. To give up ourselves means to reject doing what we want and doing what God wants.
This sounds simple; however, in reality, it is the hardest thing one could ever try. That is why, if it is not by God’s grace who works in us to show us the beauty and glory of the cross, then we would never be able to. Steven Lawson says, “A follower of Christ must die to self-love. You cannot remain self-absorbed, self-willed, and self-reliant and live for Him”. The reality is we love ourselves. We love to admire ourselves, follow our own wills and rely on our own strength. When God calls us to put Himself above even these things, it gets very hard.
This is the cost of following Christ. He demands our supreme allegiance to Him. If we choose God, that means take a leap of faith to choose God and nothing else. It means saying bye to all the worldly friends, habits, and thoughts that are either sinful or useless. It means embracing Christ to fulfil our every need and trusting in Him. This is the kind of obedience of true believers who value Christ above all things.
We surrender our lives to be wholly God’s at one point in our life. However, from that day on, we must struggle as God works to process us and change our minds, wills and affections so that they glorify Him. We don’t get perfected instantly. However, day by day, we learn what it means in real life and what it means to be wholly God’s. These can sometimes be painful. However, they are changing us to be more like Christ each and every moment until we become fully perfected in heaven.
Although the world has a lot to offer, only following Christ will give us the true love, peace, joy, and hope we all seek. Once you have tasted Him and tasted a whole life surrender to obedience to Him, you will understand that nothing can take its place. Are you counting the cost for Christ? It’s all worth it!
Lord, please help me understand what it truly means to follow You. I surrender all that I have to You. May You use me however You will as long as You lead me and guide me, God. Take my life and make it a pleasing offering to You. Although I fail and glimpse back at the worldly joys, I still desire, please remind me that I have surrendered all to You and that the joy that You offer is the true joy. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Hans Sangtoki (18) is the coordinator of RE Generation Z. He has a passion for serving his generation and sharing hope in Christ. He also has an interest in classical music and dreams of conducting an orchestra one day.