Luke 14: 26-27
“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.
At first, this truth might be difficult, but it is important to understand when following Christ.
Acts 9:2 describes followers of Christ as belonging to the Way and is a good way to explain what Jesus is saying in Luke. If we go through the Bible we see two stories displayed, the story of mankind and the story of God. Genesis 1 and 2 show that there was no separation between God and His creation. In Gen 3 we see mankind choose to go his own way.
Adam blamed his wife for disobeying God and Eve blamed the serpent. Cain was angry and killed Abel. The descendants of humans were so wicked God decided to start over with Noah. Abraham needed a son, so he had one with his slave instead of waiting for God’s way. His wife did give birth in her old age to show that God works outside of our own power. Joseph was favored by his father, so his brothers sold him into slavery. King David lied and murdered because he wanted to sleep with a woman who was not his wife. There was a prophet who wanted wealth so much he decided to curse Israel – God’s people. Gal 5:19-21 describes the way of man, “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Man’s way is shown to be increasing wickedness, selfishness, and death.
But what was God doing something during all of this. He continued to establish His way – making promises to man. God made a nation out of Abraham, His people whose laws glorified him. The temple demonstrated God’s holiness – to enter his presence took a sacrifice. God showed himself to be good and that cannot re-enter into the garden life without forgiveness of sin which is giving up of self. God showed his way is to have faith in him, to believe in his work of salvation. God planned for Jesus to do the righteous work because in our sin it’s impossible for us to choose anyway but our own.
Give up Self
John 3 gives us more truth that people love darkness, because of this we must love the Light more than anything even our love for our mothers, fathers, wife, and children. Because “Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed” – we must hate our very life because our way is evil and never will have life.
So, we give up our way of sin by faith in the work of Christ – who is, “the way, the truth, and the life” (Jn 14:6). Believing is the way, “that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”(Jn 3:15). We are united with Christ, we die to self and live with Christ. The first part of Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” Gods way produces the fruit of the Spirit, “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…”
Baxter commented about Luke 14 “A man cannot be Christ’s disciple if he prefer not the kingdom of heaven before all worldly interest, and forsake it not all comparatively, in esteem and resolution now, and in act when he is called to it.”
It is easy to be enticed by the life we have now, but we must understand that it as life separated from God – headed to death. We need to realize that any goodness we do have is from God anyway. Jesus said later on in Luke 17:33 “Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it.”
Holding onto this life is actually rejecting life. The rest of Gal 2:20 says, “the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
God’s plan was and is good and we need to die to our way – which we must hate and to have faith in God’s way in Christ. Then we can see the fruit of the Spirit in our lives and understand what is pleasing to him.
In being disciples of Christ let us not have confusion on its requirements and see that it is good.
I’d like to add some applications that I’ve experienced with meditating on this scripture. I’m tying to have this as part of my worldview admitting to myself and God I do have selfish sin nature. If I avoid thinking that I have sin problems I can’t follow Christ. It makes me think of “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.”
1 John 1:8. I am noticing areas where I can take God’s way. I often want isolation but if there are times when that is out selfishness then I need to do otherwise in faith. I’m starting to seeking out friendships. I’m looking to participate in the Great Commission. Most importantly I am seeing selfish ways with my wife and kids. And knowing Gods way is best, I am being more merciful to my spouse. Acknowledging the good things to uplift her and show love in her love language.
What are some things that you have seen change in you when you gave up self and followed Jesus?