The cost of being a disciple
Jesus gave up everything for your sake. How will you respond?
Have you ever paid a lot for something that you really wanted? I have. When I was about ten years old, I made my first big purchase on a small stereo system for my bedroom (this was before iPods, so it played CDs). Being ten and only getting $10 pocket money a week, I saved up for months to buy this stereo system, which cost about $90. On the day that I went to buy it, my dad and I went into JB Hi-Fi, and they told me that the stereo system was sold out.
SOLD OUT! I nearly cried. This had been the day I planned to get the stereo system! Thankfully, we hurried across to Dick Smith, and they had it, so I bought my first big purchase after all.
Although I parted with almost all my money that day, in my opinion it was completely worth it. Now I could listen to my CDs in my bedroom. I could play my Harry Potter audiobooks whenever I wanted! Kelly Clarkson, Avril Lavigne and countless So Fresh CDs filled my room with wonderful early-2000s pop.
Now my CD player cost me a lot of money, but now, nearly 12 years later, it’s outdated and basically worthless.
There’s something else that costs even more than a CD player. Following Jesus will cost you a lot – it will cost you your life! But, unlike a CD player, the result is completely worth it and it will never become worthless or outdated.
Put God first
In Luke 14:25-35, Jesus explains that if you want to follow him, or in his words ‘be his disciple’, it’s going to cost you. But I want to make something clear – he’s not saying that the fact that it costs you is what saves you. The cost of our sin has already been paid with Jesus’ outrageous forgiveness. What Jesus means is that committing to follow him with all our lives will require a big change in our attitudes.
Here’s the example we’re given. In Luke 14:26, Jesus says, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.” Now hold on. Doesn’t Jesus say we have to love everyone?
Well, yes he does! Which means, we can understand that this verse means that unless you think of everything in the world as less significant than Jesus, you aren’t really following him. This might sound a bit unfair, that Jesus is asking us to make him THE most important thing in our lives, but don’t forget that he is the son of God, the creator of the universe, the ONLY thing that can save us from the mess of sin we’ve got ourselves into! Sounds a bit fairer now, right?
Take it seriously
If we’re following this most important person in the universe, we need to take it seriously. In Luke 14:28-30, Jesus compares starting to live a life as one of his disciples to building a tower – you need to make sure that you’ve got enough money to finish the tower before you start building it. In the same way, we have to think seriously about making a commitment to Jesus before we do so. It’s a big deal!
But once again, let’s not forget that we’re already forgiven by Jesus – so if we make this decision but sometimes we ‘miss a brick’ in building our tower, so to speak, we’re covered. If we are truly following Jesus, we don’t need to fear when we make mistakes. We just have to admit we need Jesus’ help, and keep going.
Let God in
Someone once explained to me that to understand what being a disciple of Jesus looks like, I should think of my life as a house. Each room is a different part of my life. Some people only let Jesus stand on the front lawn outside their house. He’s out there, but he’s not allowed in.
Others might unlock the door and invite him in, but he’s only allowed in certain rooms. Maybe the study represents school – you keep him out of that room, because you’d prefer your school friends didn’t know that you were a Christian. Or maybe your bedroom represents relationships. You keep that door locked too, because you want to keep dating whomever you like. Perhaps you let Jesus into the living room, because your family brought you up as a Christian and you go to church with your parents. But maybe he’s not allowed in the bathroom, because you want to spend hours of your time thinking about your appearance and letting a desire for physical perfection take over your life.
Jesus deserves our dedication
Jesus doesn’t want half-hearted followers, who only let him into some parts of their lives. He wants people who understand the commitment they are making when they turn to him, and understand the honour and devotion he deserves. He DIED for us! Doesn’t he deserve our dedication?
So yes. Following Jesus will cost more than $90 for a CD player. It will cost you your whole life. But what you get in return is so much more worth it than my old outdated stereo – you get a life on earth with meaning, a relationship with the creator of the universe, and eternity in heaven with the one who saved you and loves you. It doesn’t get any better than that.