July 30, 2015

3 Conditions Jesus Set For Discipleship

In my last post I said that discipleship never ends. It is the process of learning to be Jesus-like. This is why He set conditions that we must be willing to obey in order to be a disciple. 

Everybody won't be a disciple because everybody won't meet the conditions. 1 Tim. 2:3-4 

Why? Because being a disciple of Jesus requires us to not only carry His cross, but to follow Him as well. Luke 14:27

When Jesus set out to make disciples, He began by exacting conditions. The exact opposite of what is done or taught today.

Instead of talking about the benefits of being His disciple, He spoke more about the difficulties, dangers and sacrifices that are involved. 

The cost of being His disciple is very high. Jesus imposes such stringent terms because He is looking for men and women of quality, and not quantity. See John 6:66. 

He is not looking for a crowd who will only follow because it's easy and requires nothing of them. He is looking for those who will not turn back when the "building and battling" grows fierce. 

For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it?...“Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten thousand to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 

Great leaders throughout time respond best when confronted with the difficult challenge, rather than the soft options. This also prevents the wrong kinds of followers. 

Jesus' conditions to discipleship is a call to faith and obedience, that separates the superficial believers from those with a true conversion experience. 

Here are three conditions for true discipleship:
  1. An Unrivaled Love for Him. This first condition deals with the affections of the heart. In the realm of our affections, Jesus allows no competition.

    As you read Luke 14:25-33, notice one statement that Jesus repeats three times.
    "he cannot be my disciple." Each time, this statement is proceeded by a condition that allows no exceptions.

    The word hate in this scripture simply means - to love less. A disciple's love for Jesus transcends all earthly loves. Because we love Him more, our capacity to love others increases.

    If the disciple is not prepared to comply with this condition, "He cannot be my disciple."

  2. An Unceasing Cross Bearing. Here, Jesus is dealing with life's conduct. Luke 14:27. 

    To understand what Jesus meant when He said "carry his cross", we have to consider what that expression would have meant to the people of that day. It involved sacrifice and suffering. A willingness to accept ostracism and unpopularity. It is symbolic of rejection by the world.

    It is this kind of "cross bearing" that a disciple of Jesus is always called to. 
    If the disciple is unwilling to fulfill this condition, Jesus said, "He cannot be my disciple."

  3. An Unreserved Surrender. In this covetous and materialistic world we live in,  this one is the most unwelcomed. It involves letting go with no conditions.

    When Jesus says, "Any of you who does not give up everything," He is asking us to choose between Him and our possessions. This was the test Jesus put to the young man who came inquiring about eternal life, in Matthew 19:21.

    Like many today, the young man flunked the test. He was unwilling to forsake all and disqualified himself from being a Jesus disciple.

    As I said earlier, Everybody won't be a disciple because everybody won't meet the conditions. 1 Tim. 2:3-4

    Our attitude toward our possession is a clue to the reality of our discipleship.
Jesus was surrounded by large crowds as He traveled. They were fascinated by Him. To them, He was a novelty. 

His teachings were a challenge to the status quo, and His popularity grew. All He needed to do was to perform a few spectacular miracles and the crowds grew. He didn't flatter them or offer some worldly attraction. To thin their ranks He simply set conditions for discipleship.

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