The moment a person gives their life to the Lord, Heaven rejoices as one of God’s creations has just been adopted into the family of God. Another soul has been saved from the grasps of the enemy. For most Christians, we are content in our salvation. We rest comfortably knowing that we are saved. We go to church on Sundays and maybe a midweek Bible study to fill our spiritual needs. We surround ourselves with other Christians for fellowship and company. All of these things are great and should be pursued, but they also put us in a dangerous bubble of comfort.
Christ does want His children to pursue him through all avenues. However, when we confessed Him as our savior we also took on a very important responsibility as well. In Matthew 28:18-20, He tells his disciples “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” This is known as the great commission and is also the very thing that makes most of us Christians, tremble.
We need to stop being satisfied with the promise of our salvation; we must share Jesus. We must make God known to others. This is what Christians are called to do. This scripture isn’t a suggestion; it’s a commission, an assignment, a command. When we keep Jesus to ourselves, then we are failing our role as disciples. We are hindering the growth of the Kingdom of God. We are being selfish with Heaven. It’s God’s desire that all of His people would have a heart for the lost, that they would strip away all comfort, and exchange it for a willingness to be an instrument used by God.
Most Christians are filled with fear, doubt, and discouragement, because being a disciple isn’t easy, there is a cost to it. We must first recognize that we cannot do this on our own, but with the Holy Spirit we can do the impossible. With Him on our side, each one of us has the capability to change the world and to be a light to people who desperately need it. There are three things that Jesus reveals to us in the Gospel of Luke, about the cost of discipleship.
Love God Above All Else
“If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:26). This verse is one that makes most followers confused. How can a God of love, tell us to hate the people we care about the most? That isn’t exactly what He is saying. In leyman’s terms, He is conveying that the way we love our family and ourselves, should look like hate in comparison to the way that we love Him. Personal relationships at times hinder our relationship with God and our willingness to follow Him. In this life, we either have accord with people and resistance with God or accord with God and resistance with people. We can’t have it both ways. We must choose Jesus above all else. Once we surrender all to Him, He reveals His love to us in ways we cannot begin to comprehend. Our hearts become overflowed with happiness, joy, and thankfulness, and as a result, we can’t help but talk about the awesome God we serve.
Deny Yourself and Take up the Cross
“If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” (Luke 9:23) One of the biggest struggles of being a disciple of Jesus is that we are so self-consumed. We don’t like to tread unfamiliar waters, and we most certainly do not want to be uncomfortable. In this verse, Jesus is telling us to deny ourselves. It’s His commandment that we must be willing to put all of our feelings, desires, comfort, and ambitions to death, in order to follow Him. This call isn’t easy, but He provides great peace when He expresses in Luke “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it” (Luke 9:24). When we choose to follow Jesus faithfully, He then opens the door to all He has in store for us. Dying to ourselves isn’t an easy process, it’s a journey that never ends; but an eternity with Jesus makes it all worth it.
Abandon All You Have
“So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:33). Jesus isn’t telling us to sell everything we own and leave all behind. What is expressed here, is if our processions, relationships, or career are hindering us from a dedicated life of discipleship, we must abandon them. These things can get in the way of being an eager and faithful servant of Jesus. They often offer up false promises of security and satisfaction. Jesus, is so much more than anything of value in our life. He is eternal.
Now is the time to rise up. Are we willing to love God above all else? Are we willing to take up our cross daily? Are we willing to lose our life in order to save it? Are we willing to abandon all that we have? But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). There is no doubt that Heaven is going to be incredible. The promise of our salvation is great, and it’s something that should be celebrated every day. Yet, there are so many people in the world and in your community that don’t know Jesus Christ. The love that Christ demonstrated for us on the cross isn’t ours alone. There are many people who have never experienced the unconditional love that Jesus has for us. The question is, what are we going to do about it?
Jake Andrews is the Director of Youth & Young Adult Ministries at First United Methodist Church Bryan. He feels that God has given him a passion to teach, love, mentor, and serve students. It is estimated that nearly 2 billion people have never even heard the Gospel of Jesus. Andrews believes that discipleship, missions, and outreach are great avenues to help lower that number, even if it is one person at a time.
article by Jake Andrews