Knowing Jesus is free; following Jesus is not. Bonhoeffer called this “costly grace.” In the words of Jesus found in Luke 14, we read:
Jesus must be priority one for those who follow Him. Further, He encouraged those who considered to follow Him to count the cost. Those unwilling to make the commitment should forget following Jesus.
25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 “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. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
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? 29 For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, 30 saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’
31 “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32 If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. 33 In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples”.
We find this model difficult to accept today. In our entitlement society, we believe we can have whatever we want whenever we want it. Such an attitude makes the idea of “giving up everything you have” a tough challenge.
But Jesus is a proponent of the sport’s quote, “Go big or go home.” He does not seek Sunday-only followers or part-time disciples; He expects our full commitment.
Rather than giving God our leftovers, we are compelled to offer God our lives. Jesus asks us to take up our cross, just as He did for us long ago.
Dillon Burroughs has written, co-written, or edited over 60 books, including the upcoming devotional work Thirst No More (October 2011). He served as an associate editor for The Apologetics Study Bible for Students and is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary. Find out more at readdB.com.