Oftentimes as Christians, we tend to get lost in the fray of what a true follower must embody. I liken it to the “New Year’s Exercise Itch,” where an individual makes a commitment to get healthy, clearly seeing the bigger picture of a transformed body or healthy lifestyle. A few days into working out, the vaunted wall hits. You don’t see those ripped abs forming or better yet, you start hurting in places you never knew existed. The truth then hits as you realize you made a commitment without fully understanding what a healthy lifestyle entails and your body quits on you. We as followers make this same mistake when it comes to carrying our cross and following Christ. Our days of worship come and we’re filled with this renewed vigor that has us filling like super heroes, until later that week when the vaunted ‘wall’ hits. We then realize, “Hey, did I really think through what God expects from me?” What I’m more afraid of is that even though our spirit is willing, our body is weak and will quit. Guess what family? Jesus loved us so much that he gave us all the pieces to this beautiful jigsaw puzzle. In Luke 14, in particular verses 27-31, Jesus tells us what it truly takes to be a disciple and the cost we must bear. Let’s take an in depth look at some of the key verses.
Verse 27 “And whoever does no carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”
I was always told that if something is repeated, it must truly be important. This one line is the foundation of our discipleship and this premise has been repeated over and over within the bible. For instance (Further reading and bible study) check out Luke 9:23, Matthew 10:38, Mark 8:34 or Matthew 16:24-26. Jesus made sure that we understood what we were getting into. He communicates to us that, unless we make a full commitment, we cannot be true disciples. Carrying our cross means full commitment, even if the outcome is less than desirable. Following Christ is a necessity, even if it means that we must pay the ultimate price as he did for us.
Verse 28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?”
I believe this is a parable as to what Jesus is trying to teach us. You want to become a true follower, but do you sit down and estimate the true cost of what’s expected? The lesson is taught in three simple words, “estimate the cost.” Jesus doesn’t want us to simply make a commitment, one that is based on only expecting ‘blessings.’ He wants us to consider what is expected of us, both good and bad, and not walk blindly into this commitment. Don’t expect just those “ripped spiritual abs.” Expect to take up your cross daily and follow Christ through whatever your path entails.
Verse 29 & 30 “For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’ ”
To me, this verse speaks to the intense notion that all eyes are truly on us. There are those who are waiting in the helms, ready to ridicule us for failing or only half-committing. On the opposite end, there are those who are in the dark, seeking light so that they may climb from the pits of oppression. We were called to be lights in this dark world and to also be a direct, Earth-stationed representation of God. Failing to be true disciples effects more than just ourselves. It affects those whom truly need us to be an example. So I’m sure you’re wondering, how can I truly implement this into my life? The bible has an answer for that as well in Luke 9:23, which states “Then he said to them all: ‘ Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.’” Take up your cross daily and follow Christ, which means:
- Self-denial: Sacrificing what you ultimately want for what Christ demanded of us. In order to be a disciple, you must first learn how to give yourself up for others. You must follow before you can truly lead.
- Complete dedication: You must completely dedicate yourself to the will of God, accepting whatever purpose given to you. You must face all rewards and perils alike. This means not giving up on that tight, spiritual core of abs when you see the first sight of pain.
- Willing Obedience: Simply obey my family. Jeremiah 29:11 “ ‘for I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ ” Obedience is the key to pleasing God.
I want to be clear, I’m not saying it’s easy to follow Christ or bear your cross. What I am saying is that if you seek Christ with all your heart, you will find him (Jeremiah 29:13). If you fully commit and follow, you can truly be a disciple and light up this dark world with your brightness. So shine family and as God, I love you all!
Author: Charles Carter | I'm just your average sports-loving, geeky, hipster, follower of Christ with a passion to shine a light within this world. Concerning this generation, I'm passionate about bringing knowledge and wisdom to the lost; making disciples of the willing; and helping the oppressed. I want to bring back that free-flowing, loving culture that Jesus exemplified, whether its through imitation or fellowship.