"If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.
"Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. So therefore, no one of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his possessions." (Luke 14:26,27,33)
The tough teaching of Jesus doesn't fit today's popular, self-serving, pulpit rhetoric.
Jesus has called all His followers to discipleship. He eliminates a casual approach to Christianity. This is serious business, one in which sowing and reaping is inescapable.
Jesus says, "Forsake all and follow Me," then He promises abundant life (John 10:10). To our natural minds this seems a contradiction. How can we give up everything, carry a cross, hate everybody dear to us, and still end up with abundance?
The word Jesus used to describe abundance is translated having an advantage, or exceedingly, or beyond measure. Jesus was neither a liar nor a con artist. Liars and con artists don't give their lives for others. Jesus was and is God, and He transmitted to us an important principle about kingdom living.
We reside in Satan's territory, and we are programmed to his interpretation of abundance. It's logical to us, and anything contrary seems illogical. But Jesus has called us to lay it all down. We are to come to Him and place everything at His feet.
The first thing to be dealt with is our will. We probably never considered that we are sovereign because we have a sovereign will. We are free to choose, we aren't mechanical toys to be run by others. Along with that comes responsibility for our actions. Our will controls all matters, inside and out.
We may have forgotten that only when we submitted our will to the will of God did we experience salvation. There was no way we could have willed ourselves to be saved, it occurred only after we laid our will at the feet of Jesus. God wants us to be willing to lay our will at His feet permanently. The result is union with Him in His kingdom.
No transformation takes place until the will is dealt with; there is no renewing of the mind (Romans 12:2). Until the mind is renewed, we will never be willing to forsake all.
A crucial principle is at work. Disciples understand that self-will is rejected by God, and there is nominal spiritual development until the will has been renewed through submission to God's will. The life of God has no way to express itself through us, so long as we refuse to lose our life for His sake (Matthew 10:39). But when we unite our will to the will of God, His life takes over and His abundance becomes part of the package.
God wants to be God in our lives, and if we let Him, He shows us what abundance really is. But His concept of being God is different from the current epidemic of humanistic pablum being spoon-fed to His church. He insists upon being Number One, and will settle for nothing less. Everything else has to be put aside in priority, whether parents, or spouse, or siblings, or self. Especially self. It requires a change of focus, away from other people and "things", and toward a Person.
Unfortunately, the only way we human beings accomplish radical change in lifestyle is by progression. It is easier to lay one thing at a time at His feet, rather than throw ourselves down in reckless abandon. But when we truly submit something to Him, we discover what He means by abundance.
The Holy Spirit takes dominion in the areas we submit, and He brings with Him the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22,23). A supernatural impartation takes place. We find ourselves able to love more sincerely, and to cope with the frustrations of life.
Living doesn't become easier. God didn't select us so we could skip through life from one ecstatic joy after another. He selected us to do His will and fulfill His purpose. When we consider what Jesus had to go through, we can see that everything may not always be peaches and cream.
A disciple commits to inhabiting earth not for himself, but for the will of God. The issue is not gain or loss, glory or shame, joy or pain. The issue is to fulfill the desire of God's heart. The true disciple wants to accomplish the highest point God sets before him. Everything else is rubbish (Philippians 3:8).
Jesus is King!
P.S. What are you doing of eternal value?
Question for today: How can I be certain I am submitting my self-will to God?