Day 84 – Luke 14:25-34

Costly, But Well Worth It.

Luke 14:25-34

“So you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own.– Luke 14:33 NLT

The cost of following Jesus. That’s not a particularly popular topic today. Partly because we live in a society that has been saturated and soaked in an atmosphere of ease and comfort. We have been trained to expect everything instantaneously and relatively easily. Even the old slogan, “NO PAIN, NO GAIN” seems to have fallen out of popularity. In its place we find a plethora of options that require little or no pain, but seemingly with all the gain. Weight loss pills, potions and even surgeries, have taken the pain out of looking good. Promises of virtually instant weight loss, quick investment returns, easy money, fast food, ready-t0-go meals, and while-you-wait credit approval have made us lazy and adverse to anything that requires effort on our part. So the idea of discipleship to Christ being costly is not exactly a popular topic these days. There are many pastors and teachers who, while knowing what the Bible says about the subject, choose to downplay it because they fear the reaction it might bring.

But if there was ever a time when the message of costly discipleship was needed, it is now. It is the message Jesus unapologetically preached. He minced no words and left no one with the impression that following Him was going to be easy going and trouble free. He made it painfully clear that becoming His disciple was going to be costly and would require tremendous commitment. No half-hearted, weak-willed individuals need sign up. Listen to what He said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hatehis own father and mother, and wife and children, and brothers and sisters, and even his own life,he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26 NET). That’s pretty costly. Of course, we tend to soften it up by qualifying that Jesus was not telling us to actually hate our fathers, mothers, wives, children, brothers and sisters. He was just saying that, in comparison to our love for Him, our love for them would be like hate. But I think what Jesus is warning us is that following Him was going to cost a lot of people their families. They would lose the love of their own fathers and mothers by choosing to follow Him. They would face rejection and ridicule by their own families, and they needed to be okay with it. Those family members would beg them to give up Jesus and come home. But Jesus is warning them that to be His follower, they would have to reject their own families – an action that would be viewed as hate by those closest to them. And Jesus also warns them that they must hate their own lives – the lives they had come to know and love. Their way of living was going be replaced with the way of Jesus. They couldn’t keep looking back and longing for the “good old days” when things were easier or seemingly better. Once they chose to follow after Jesus, that old way of life was to be dead to them.

One of the most famous proponents of the cost of discipleship was Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German pastor who lived during the rise of the Third Reich. He would stand against Hitler and his propaganda machine, ending up in prison, where he would die. He wrote a book called The Cost of Discipleship and in it he writes, “When all is said and done, the life of faith is nothing if not an unending struggle of the spirit with every available weapon against the flesh.” Dietrich knew from experience just how true this statement was. He suffered greatly under the oppressive regime of Hitler. But he spoke boldly, calling believers to stand up against the lies of the enemy. He called them to wake up out of their stupor and complacency and stand for the cause of Christ. His efforts met with deaf ears and resulted in his imprisonment. He goes on to write, “Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock. Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: ‘Ye were bought at a price’, and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us. Costly grace is the Incarnation of God.”

Following after Jesus is costly. It cost God His own Son. It cost Jesus His own life. It costs us our pride. It demands of us our lives, passions, worldly affections, idols, wills, agendas, friendships, family affiliations, dreams, desires, and so much more. But in return, we receive eternal life, forgiveness of sin, salvation, a restored relationship with God, a new family, the indwelling Holy Spirit, peace, power, hope, joy, direction, protection, assurance of salvation, and so much more. Yes, following Jesus is costly, but it is also well worth any pain it my require on our part. The gain far outweighs the pain. Paul put it this way: “Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later” (Romans 8:18 NLT).

Father, make us aware of just how costly following Your Son really is. Don’t let us settle for something cheap and imitation. Don’t allow us to diminish the value of the gift by demanding that it require nothing from us of of us. Following Your will required Jesus to give up His life. Following Your Son requires us to do the same – no more, no less. But thank You that our gain far outweighs any pain we may suffer on Your behalf. Amen.

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men
kenm@christchapelbc.org

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