READ: Proverbs 26, Luke 14, Revelation 6
Dallas Willard commented that if you think the cost of discipleship is high, you ought to reckon with the cost of non-discipleship. Jesus was pretty explicit about what characterizes the non-disciple. By Jesus’ definition, discipleship is not for the faint of heart or lazy in spirit. Jesus simply declares that if you do not hate your own life, bear your cross, and forsake all, you cannot be His disciple.
The Non-Disciple Does Not Hate His Own Life (Luke 14:26). Jesus warns anyone following Him that love for Jesus includes hate for father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters, and yes, even our own lives. Jesus means, of course, that in comparison to our passion for and allegiance to Him, all other passions must pale. When our allegiance to Jesus does not far exceed all other allegiances, we are doubly deprived. Not only do we miss the completion of Jesus being our highest joy, we also miss the deepest fulfillment of our lesser (still vital) relationships. My interaction with family, with my own life, is only fullest when my passion for Jesus is highest.
The Non-Disciple Does Not Bear His Cross (v. 27). It is one thing to embrace a stationary cross; it is another thing to bear a rugged cross on a lashed back. The friction of movement embeds splinters from the cross deep into the flesh. When we do not encounter the agony of the cross being worked deep into our souls through a process of ongoing friction, it costs us unimaginably. The non-disciple does not endure the cross (does not walk under its weight mile after unending mile) and thus is not comprehensively cured. It is a costly waste to invest in a course of treatment, begin the process, and leave it prematurely. The efficacy of the cross is linked to the whole Calvary road being traversed.
The Non-Disciple Does Not Forsake All (v. 33). The follower of Jesus tends to excel in selective application of Calvary. We crucify gossip and indulge in gluttony. We forsake gluttony and succumb to pride. We humble ourselves and slip into laziness. We become industrious but begin to lie. We tell the truth but without kindness. Jesus’ view of discipleship demands a comprehensive abandonment of sin and self. Jesus is neither pleased nor honored when His disciples crucify singular aspects of their flesh. Everything has to die–body, soul, mind all must be nailed to the cross. We convince ourselves that God will be satisfied with compartmentalized surrender. We laud ourselves for giving up one precious thing. Jesus remains unimpressed until we give up everything–not our worst, not even our best, simply our all.