And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:27)
In Luke 14, Jesus is teaching on the cost of being His follower. He didn’t want disciples who were only partially committed. Before He spoke the words above, He said prospective disciples should “hate” father and mother, wife and brothers and sisters and their own lives also in order to be His disciples (v. 26). That is a hard teaching.
We know that Jesus wants us to love family. He often used strong language to get our attention and teach us an important truth. I’ve been helped when a wise teacher explained it this way: By contrast to our love for Jesus, our commitment to family looks like hate.
Jesus followed this shocking statement by saying that if one wants to build a tower he first sits down and counts the cost to be sure he has enough money to finish it (Luke 14:28). No one wants to be mocked because he can’t finish what he started. Then He said, when a king goes to war he first must consider if his ten thousand troops can beat an enemy with twenty thousand. And if he decides he can’t, he negotiates a peace treaty.
Jesus knew what His followers would face and He wanted us to be prepared. I understand that though we in the United States have not had to face severe persecution for our faith, the time may be coming when we will. Persecution is predicted as we come toward the last days. Jesus said in Matthew 24:21, “For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.” In that same message, Jesus promised a great reward for those who remain faithful. He talked about the servant who remains wise and faithful in spite of persecution and says, “It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions” (Matthew 24:46–47).
Lord, I have always been amazed by your willingness to take up Your cross on my behalf. Thank You! Because of that love, I want to take up my cross and follow You. I affirm with the apostle Paul that I have been crucified with Christ and that it is no longer I who live, but You, Lord Jesus, living out Your life in me. So, I cling to the old rugged cross today. Grant me the strength to hold to the cross, regardless of the cost.
–Adapted from Encountering Jesus: Praying the Commands of Christ into Your Life by Norval Hadley. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.
Extra Commands to Pray. A FREE PDF DOWNLOAD that goes along with the book, Encountering Jesus: Praying the Commands of Christ into Your Life. It includes content for additional commands that the book does not cover.
Encountering Jesus is also available on Kindle and Nook. One Kindle reader said: “While I knew (know) of Jesus biblical commands, I did not really know how to translate them into my life on a daily basis. Norval Hadley’s book showed me how. It will put energy into your prayer life.”
Praise God for keeping his covenant promises to you. Give thanks that you have always been able to count on him in all circumstances. Confess any doubt you have had concerning God and his promises. Commit yourself to trusting the Lord and taking him at his word. Ask for his peace which transcends understanding to guard your heart and your mind in Jesus Christ.
Pray that those who instruct within the church may be able to correctly handle the Word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15).
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