Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, “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. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 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.’ Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:25-33
Too many Christians think that once they follow Jesus life will be one big party with no cares. Nothing could be further from the truth. Nowhere does Jesus promise us a problem free life. In fact as we see in today’s verses what Jesus does promise is we will pay a cost to follow Him.
Jesus tells us today that in order to follow Him we must hate our father, mother, spouse and children and we must hate our own lives. Wow! Very strong words. How can a God who is all loving tell us to hate? Jesus is not actually telling us to hate. What He wants us to do is put Him before everyone and everything else.
When we put Jesus and God first then our lives take on new meaning and other parts of our lives become better. I said better not great or perfect but better. There will still be trials and tribulations. But when the things happen we will have God to bring us through. He will get us through but God will most likely not make us rich or healthy or make others like us. In fact people will hate us because of who we follow.
Some of us will pay the ultimate price for follow Jesus. We see this today in the Middle East as ISIS thugs murder Christians for the crime of being Christian. But even in the West we will see scorn and hatred because we are Christian. When we tell others what God says about sin we are condemned as intolerant and haters. Any sign of Jesus or Christianity in the public arena meats with outrage and law suits. In Canada today if you preach that homosexuality is a sin you can be arrested and jailed as using hate speech. In the US you may not be jailed but you will be shouted down and accused of bigotry and hatred.
So, when someone tells you that if you have enough faith in God all will be roses and life will be easy ask them to look at what Jesus tells us in today’s verses. I do not know about you but carrying a cross does not seem like too much fun. In Jesus time to carry a cross meant you were on your way to be executed. It was meant as a means of public humiliation. None of that seems much fun. What being a Christian means is willingly taking up our cross to follow Jesus no matter the cost. It may mean losing family, friends and making enemies but the reward is eternal.
That carefree life where there is no pain is not for this earth but we will each enjoy it. But to get there we must follow Jesus and do as He did. Take up our cross and tell the world who we follow and why.
Have a blessed day,