Have you heard the adage, “An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure?”
This is ever true of discipleship. It is much easier to surrender your will than it is to continuously pick up the pieces of your life after doing things your own way. If you feel like you’ve hit a wall spiritually, then my question to you is, are you completely surrendered?
The context of our new life in Christ, God’s promises, and His blessings is surrender. Salvation is free, but discipleship will cost you everything. Discipleship is the process of becoming a new creation.
In Luke 9, Jesus is confronted by three potential followers. The call for each center on the term “follow.” The word “follow” in the Greek means to attend, to accompany, to go with. This heightens our need to learn from God and about God.
Discipleship is an intentional act, not something that happens by osmosis.
The first potential follower approached Jesus and said, “I will follow you where ever you go.” That’s a bold statement for which Jesus responds with an equally bold reply, (summarized and paraphrased) “I’m homeless.” What is Jesus communicating to us about following Him?
#1 This world is not our home.
“…and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.” Hebrews 11:13b
This life is a shadow of eternal life. If you are making decisions based on convenience and ease, your faith is going to flatline. Following Jesus may cost you your comfort.
What’s your breaking point?
- Will you continue to follow Jesus when there’s more sacrifice than abundance?
- Will you continue to follow Jesus when life doesn’t go your way?
- Will you continue to follow Jesus when life doesn’t make sense?
The next person responds to Jesus’ personal invitation with, “Let me go bury my father first.” It was a Jewish custom for a child to bury their father. Proper preparations and burial were a serious concern. The only way a child was absolved of this duty was if they took a Nazarite vow or if they were a High Priest.
Some have justified the man’s request by saying the father was very ill and was going to pass in a matter of days. But there’s no evidence of that. If the man’s father were sick, he would have asked Jesus to heal his father.
Jesus statement communicates to us how #2 following Him is a matter of immediacy.
“…now is the day of salvation.” 2 Corinthians 6:2b
“7Today if you hear his voice 8do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion…” Hebrews 3:7-8
The habit of putting off to tomorrow what should be done today will have a devastating effect on your spiritual growth. There is always something competing for our time with God and our love for Him.
Compete surrender means we prioritize our life around our relationship with God. Discipleship is a lifestyle and for transformation to happen, we must align our traditions, cultural identity, our personality with following Jesus.
“61 Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home. 62Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:61-62
#3 Discipleship requires us to be single-minded in approach.
I’ve talked with people who have said, “once I experience life and have my fun then after that I will become a Christian.” For most, that day never comes. We must set our hand to the plow (which is illustrative of discipleship) and not look back.
After God delivered the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt, some looked back fondly on Egypt because the journey was not as easy as they expected.
“If only we had died by the LORD’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted…” Exodus 16:3 (NIV)
They forgot how harsh the conditions (slavery) were and wished they could go back to the way it was. Don’t look back.
“He (God) has set eternity in our hearts,” Ecclesiastes 3:11.
Keep your focus on eternity so you don’t get distracted and turn aside. Remember following Jesus may cost you your comfort, it is a matter of immediacy and requires a single-mindedness approach. Are you a follower of Jesus?