The cost of discipleship

Three times in Luke 14, Jesus describes those who cannot be His disciples.

“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.” (Lk. 14:26 *ESV, emphasis mine)

“Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.” (Lk. 14:27*)

“So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.” (Lk. 14:33*)

These are not wishy-washy statements. They’re strong. Forceful. Hit us where it hurts.

Does my life reflect the true reality of being a disciple of Jesus? Am I really ready to renounce all that I treasure in this life … today, tomorrow, and every day until eternity? Am I willing to say goodbye to friends, willing to live a nomadic life like Jesus? “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” (Lk. 9:58) Am I ready to face persecution — physically, emotionally, spiritually?  “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (2 Tim. 3:12)

Have I really counted the cost? Am I able to finish building what I’ve started?

“For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.” (Lk. 14:28-30)

Thankfully, this sacrifice is not without reward, on this earth and in the life to come. We will gain far more than we have lost.

“Jesus said, ‘Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.’” (Mk. 10:29-31)

I have counted the cost. I’m in.

May I be found worthy of His life and death, not making Him out to be a liar by shrinking back when the day of trouble comes.

“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.” (Phil. 3:12)

“Godliness with contentment is great gain”

Yesterday was a watershed day in my life as a Christian. The Lord did so much work in my heart it was almost as though I had accepted the Lord’s gift of grace all over again. And in a sense, I did. He renewed my heart in ways I could not even have imagined.

The past two weeks have been full of challenge after challenge. Illness has struck me several times, school has overwhelmed me, work has frustrated me. Yet in it all, my God has been sovereign and has worked out His salvation in me. I feel such joy at the lessons he’s taught me in the past two or three days and in the mountains He’s moved. Yes, He’s moved mountains! I came before His presence last night and submitted my selfish human will to His in areas that He’s been trying to get into for years. I can’t even believe the freedom I feel today! And already I can see Him blessing me for being obedient.

Last night, I continued my study on being a woman of prayer. I learned “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” During the study, I discovered that to delight yourself means to immerse yourself in the Word–the Law and God’s works and promises–and as a result to become obedient. God does not delight in self-motivated burnt offerings, but rather in one whose walk is blameless and upright.

I’ve been praying for months and even years about certain areas of my life in which I have been disobedient. I knew the truth in my head, but it was just last night when I submitted to my King that I felt the burdens lifted. He is faithful when we answer the call to receive His grace and mercy!

God has given me an incredible, overflowing love–for my parents, my roommates, my friends, the lost. I feel like I am going to overflow because His love is welling up so deeply within me! I came to Him because I was thirsty, and He gave me streams of living water. All praise and glory be to the Lord most high!

I was reading through some old e-mails today from a couple of weeks ago. I am in awe of one e-mail in particular where I was really struggling. God answered every single prayer in that long e-mail! I can’t even fathom His faithfulness to remove these stumbling blocks in my life!

I’ve been longing for intimacy with the Lord for months. I’ve struggled with a desire in my head to spend more time fellowshiping with Him in prayer but without motivation in my heart. The floodgates of communication were let loose last night!

“Godliness with contentment is great gain.” Amen, and how great is our God!