What does it mean to count the cost of being a disciple of Christ?
Turn in your Bible with me to Luke chapter 14 and start reading from verse 25:
25 Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, 26 “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. 27 And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. 28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it— 29 lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’? 31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. 33 So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.
Christ is being very clear here. If you do not take up your Cross and follow after Him, then you cannot be His disciple! If you do not hate father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters and even your life, you cannot be His disciple (this verse does have to be taken in context though and I will expound more on this later)! You need to weigh in that cost factor. When one wants to build something, one sits down and counts the cost of the project and so it is the same with the Christian faith. The question is are you willing to do that? Are you willing to count that cost?
I want you to know something. Being a Christian means it will cost you everything! It will cost you your reputation, it will cost you your popularity and it may even cost you your job! Are you prepared to forsake all for the sake of Christ? “…whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.”
It’s not going to be an easy ride. It’s not going to be “Your Best Life Now” like Joel Osteen would have you to believe. It is a Narrow Way that we must walk (Matthew 7) and that way is steep, winding and harrowing. It is filled with hazards and hardships, pain, toil, blood, sweat and tears.
Becoming a disciple of Christ means that you will have to recognize and agree to His terms.
You will have to fight temptation on a daily basis. You will have to contend with the forces of darkness. You will have to say “no” to the world. You will have to deny self and take up your Cross daily.
It is going to cost you something.
You Need to Be Committed!
God doesn’t want half-hearted servants! He wants your everything. The moment you become a child of God and you surrender all to Him, your life is no longer your life, it now becomes His. Your possessions are no longer yours, they are now His. Your money is no longer your money, it is His, Your future is no longer yours, it is His.
You need to be willing to follow Christ and Him only. Matthew 6:24 says that you cannot serve two masters. You cannot serve both God and money. You are going to have to make a choice.
You cannot continue doing the things that you enjoy doing, instead you now have to use your time and resources for God’s glory and the furtherance of His Kingdom. You need to be fully committed! Being committed is not an option, it is a directive from your Commanding Officer!
You have to leave behind the things of this world, you have to fight the enslavement of the devil and instead march to the beat of a different drummer for you are now Christ’s servant and He is now your Master.
The life of discipleship can only be maintained so long as nothing is allowed to become Christ and ourselves–neither the law, nor personal piety, nor even the world. This disciple always looks only to his master, never to Christ and the law, Christ and religion, Christ and the world. He avoids such notions like the plague. Only by following Christ alone can he preserve a single eye. His eye rests wholly on the light that comes from Christ, and has no darkness or ambiguity in it. ~Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship
I do want to say that the portion of this passage that talks about forsaking father, mother, wife, children etc has to be taken in context. There are quite a number of misguided individuals who seem to think that this passage means that they should totally abandon their Christian parents and families and head off to the mission field. Obviously much could be said about one’s God given responsibilities to his parents, siblings, wife and children. This portion, is however referring to an unbelieving family. You will have to break away and follow Christ if your family is walking in disobedience towards Him. It is going to be difficult. Just the other day, a much younger brother in the faith was telling me about how his family is not saved and that it is very difficult to walk the narrow way all the while knowing He has to break away from the sinful atmosphere. It is going to be hard, it’s going to be painful and it’s going to be difficult but you must obey your Master.
Are you willing to stand alone and be counted as a disciple of Christ? Standing alone means that you will be mocked and ridiculed. You will be rejected and you will be unpopular. Standing alone means that you will not have friends to prop you up when the going gets tough. The only thing you will have to rely on is your inseparable relationship with Christ. Standing alone is going to be hard and may be frightening at times but you do not need to fear because the Lord goes before you and if He brings you to a trial, He will take you through it.
Standing alone means that you have to be willing to face persecution for the sake of Christ. Doing so may even cost you your life. Every year 100,000 Christians around the globe are martyred for their faith in Christ. The great majority of this statistic occurs in persecuted countries where the Bible is banned and if you are caught with a Bible or for ministering God’s word, the sentence is often death. The Bible is banned in at least 52 countries. Persecution is increasing in the Western World and in the not too distant future, the Bible and the Christian faith may well be banned from public life especially seeing how things are going in the world today.
There is a very famous and often quoted example of the 4th century Christian martyr Telemachus who was martyred for standing up against the barbaric gladiatorial shows in the Roman Colosseum – he stood up for what he believed was right and payed the cost for doing so. The story goes that he intervened between two gladiators in the Roman Colosseum and was quickly stabbed through the heart by one of the gladiators. After his death the emperor of Rome banned such events in the Colosseum. The point is that Telemachus stood firm for what he believed in and was willing to die for that cause.
So, I exhort you to count the cost of being a disciple of Christ. Are you up for the challenge? Are you ready to forsake all and follow Him? Are you willing to give your life for Him?
Grace and peace,