So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:33 ESV)
Jesus wants devoted disciples, not half-hearted followers. In other words, he is saying, “You have to make a choice to not be divided in your priorities. Will you follow me, or will you tend to your other concerns first?” Being his disciple comes with a cost. We are being stripped down to nothing so that he can rebuild in us a solid foundation of faith.
There will be a lot of things we will need to give up when we follow Jesus. Obviously, the bad habits and sin will have to be pruned away. And then there will be some relationships that may not be so good for us. And if we take pride in our possessions, he instructs us to loosen our grip on them so that we are ready to let them go. There will also be times when we have to choose to give up a very good thing, like a job, hobby, or ministry , especially if they hinder our relationship with Jesus.
It’s not that he doesn’t want us to enjoy life and have fun. That’s what a lot of people think when they are introduced to Christianity. They worry about their potential losses and believe they will end up with a dull and boring life. It feels like a cult and they do not want to be controlled by someone else. That is a valid fear because there are many religious groups that abuse their members this way; but they are not Jesus.
What I am talking about here is the object of our focus. Do we make Jesus our number one priority above anyone and anything else? And if we say we do, then are we living out his commandments? It sounds like work, but it really isn’t when you begin to apply what you learn on a daily basis. Moment-by-moment choices essentially add up to a lifetime of faith. We just have to keep building on them and trust that Jesus will care for our needs along the way. Spiritual growth begins with him but we need to make sacrifices if we are to reap the full blessings of being his disciple. Otherwise, we risk being intercepted by Satan whose only purpose is to sabotage your faith and destroy your life. This is why Jesus said, “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 10:39). He has given us the battle plan and our first objective is to completely follow him at all costs.