Salvation is free, but is discipleship? We’re going to talk about counting the cost, today on What You’ve Been Searching For. I’m Joel Fieri, stay tuned.
In continuing our discussions on discipleship, which is one of the main topics you’ve been searching for as Christian podcast listeners, today, I want to wrap it up by sharing some convergence of experiences I’ve had in the last week or so. As I mentioned, when I started doing this podcast a few months back, I picked up Mere Christianity, the very same copy I read in college for the very first time. I still have it. It’s a little taped up now.
But I shared with you a story from the forward, where C.S. Lewis was talking about his goal for the book, which was to introduce people to mere Christianity or basic Christianity. He wasn’t going to get into which church to go to or any great theological discussions. He just wanted, in his words, to walk them into a hallway, get them to become Christians, walk them into a building where there was a lot of different doors and they can choose whichever expression of Christianity they wanted. That was his goal.
At the end of the book, which I just finished because I’ve been … When you read C.S. Lewis, you can’t read it quickly. You have to read a little bit, read a few chapters at a time, let it marinate, chew on it a little bit, think about it. His level of thinking is so far above mine anyways. That’s what I found myself doing. So I finished the book this week and he finishes it with a description of what it really means to follow Christ. He goes from that basic introduction at the beginning, and at the end, he talks about just exactly what Jesus wants to do to you and with you and for you when you become his follower or his disciple. So, what I want to go over today is a couple of the concepts he gives. And then next week, I want to wrap it up in a nice tight bow, hopefully.
And at the end of the book, near the final couple chapters, he talks about counting the cost. And what I want to do is I want to read the passage in Luke 14, where Jesus talks about counting the cost of being his disciple. So I’m going to read from Luke, starting in verse 25 of chapter 14. Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them, he said, “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. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”
“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? If you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘he started to build and couldn’t finish.’ 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 10,000 men to oppose one coming against him with 20,000? 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. In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.”
Right here, Jesus is laying down something pretty radical and he’s asking an awful lot of us. And it is a cost. He’s using an example that the disciples or anybody listening would know about. They would know about building a tower or building a building, and obviously, they’d know about war. They lived in a war time culture, pretty much, most of the time. So he’s using language that they would understand, but also something that’s would challenge them against or as opposed to what the Pharisees and what the leaders and what their traditions were telling them.
So I also want to pick up on that and tell you what C.S. Lewis had to say about this, because it brings home for us, I think, and I’ll try to finish it up next week, what it means to count the cost. What he talks about is more or less what your expectations are when you decide to follow Christ and be a disciple. And for some, it might be, well, I would just want to have one or two sins taken care of. I see a couple of faults in myself. I’m basically a good person, but if Jesus can just fix this problem I have with anger or lust or greed, or whatever it is, then I’ll be okay. I don’t want to go any further than that. Just those couple, because I like myself the way I am. I don’t want to have too radical a change.
Well, this is what C.S. Lewis has to say about this and how he rebuts it. He said, “The Christian way is different, harder and easier. Christ says, ‘Give me all. I don’t want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work. I want you. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half measures are any good. I don’t want to cut off a branch here and a branch there. I want to have the whole tree down. I don’t want to drill the tooth or crown it or stop it, but to have it out. Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires, which you think innocent, as well as the ones you think wicked, the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you myself. My own will, will become yours.'”
So, in looking at this and realizing this is such a deeper and heavier commitment than I’ve ever made, even in my long time as a Christian, I’ve been Christian most of my life, I don’t think I really even scratched the surface of this, of what it means to give Jesus my whole self and let him transform me by killing my old self and giving me his self, making me into his image. Later on, he talks about that that doesn’t happen overnight and it doesn’t happen even while we’re still alive. It’s something we have to be eternally minded for. This is the goal with an eternal perspective. When we are finally in his presence, then we will be perfect and he will have made us perfect.
But for now, we just take some halting steps and some stumbling steps like a child would take his first steps. And he talks about, later in the book, he talks about, a child is not angry at his toddler son for taking a few stumbling steps. He’s proud that the child is actually trying, even though the steps, he falls down and doesn’t do it successfully. Now, when that child is 20 years old, if he’s still doing that, the father is going to be rather disappointed.
So what does this mean? What am I trying to get at? I often mention the things that aren’t popular today. What I see in the Christian community today, I have a lot of concerns about, and this is one of them. And I think down the road, what I see coming down the road in our culture and our society has me very concerned. Telling people that the cost of discipleship for Jesus is their entire self, a total remaking of their self, letting go, even that they are guilty of something that needs to be cleansed, that’s not popular these days. We try and sell Christianity today with a lot of positivity, a lot of self-help, a little pop psychology thrown in. We want to make people feel good when they come to Jesus, and we want to make it feel like it’s a positive step for them and that will enhance their lives.
That’s not what Jesus said. Jesus said you have to hate your father and mother and your brothers and sisters and your very self. Well, that sounds depressing. That sounds like you need medication or something, but that’s not what he’s saying. He’s saying we have to look to him as the perfect one. He’s the standard that we judge ourselves against, and because he’s perfect, we have to be perfect. I’m going to talk a little about this next week, what it means when he says, “Be perfect because I am perfect.” Well, how do we do that? Well, we can’t. We have to let him. And if we let him, he won’t stop until we are. And that’s where eternity comes in.
So, as I said, it’s a heavy subject, but when you think about discipleship, when we think about making disciples in a day like ours, in a time like ours, we have to get back to this concept of giving up your entire self. Jesus doesn’t want half of you, he wants all of you. He doesn’t want your money or your time, but he wants you, to totally remake you. And discipleship is how he wants to do it. And as I keep coming back to, his model for discipleship is not just you and him. It’s a body of believers, discipling each other and reproducing that in other people.
So, thank you for continuing on this discipleship journey with me and exploring what it really means. If you like this subject, go to ChristianPodcastCentral.com and check out our other podcasts. Also go to Apple, Spotify, any other podcast platform you rely on, and check us out on YouTube, Rumble, Gab, Parlor, all those other alternate sites. And we’ll see you next week.