Lately I’ve kind of been disturbed with what I hear and see about love. It’s true that the Bible says love covers a multitude of sins. It’s true we are to love. But in order to be a disciple, a true disciple, we must count the cost.
In Luke 14:28-33 Jesus turns to His disciples and the large crowds that were following Him and talks about it. He wants them to know that if they really want this, there will be a cost. The disciples themselves had paid a price to follow Jesus. Some left their families, some left their jobs. And all of it was expected in an instant. No thinking about it, no come back tomorrow and ask me again, just instantaneous obedience.
Jesus illustrates this point in Luke 9:59-60. He asks a man to follow Him and the man says that he first has to go and bury his dad. What you may not know is that the process of burying his father included waiting for him to die and he probably wasn’t even sick. This could actually take years and years!
One step further, the man wanted to inherit first. Meaning that after he buried his father he would inherit the land and his father’s possessions. So in essence the man was putting money and riches and family before Jesus. He just couldn’t let go. Dude, you either do it or you don’t.
So back to the point. Some people and/or churches have taken out some of the truth of the gospel to make it more acceptable to people they want to see saved. We have totally watered it down as if it can’t stand on it’s own two feet. But this is totally doing them a disservice. People need to know that there will be a price to pay so they will stand strong when life starts to throw them curve balls and downright strikes. They need to know that becoming a Christian means you now have a target painted on your head. And especially in today’s world, we will be persecuted. In writing, in the loss of friends; life just doesn’t go on as before and it can’t. We have become new.
“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.” Luke 14:28-33
We cannot be His disciples. That is a heavy statement. CANNOT. Ponder that word, roll it around in your head.
Now check this out! A turned upside down perspective…
“The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.” Acts 5:41.
They were excited because they had been counted worthy to suffer for Jesus!
And here we are in our comfortable little world teaching people that when they become a Christian everything is happy and wonderful and nothing ever goes wrong. It’s no wonder that baby Christians leave and go back to their old ways. We haven’t taught them the truth. The truth is found here: “33 These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33. Jesus has overcome and will never leave us. He promises to be with us during everything that gets dished out to us. He never says we will not have it. In fact, right there in that verse, He says the exact opposite. You WILL have trouble.
So here comes the point of me writing all of this. What are we teaching our children. Are we teaching them to stand up and be vocal for Jesus no matter what? How are we preparing them to handle not only the bullying that will come when they speak out, but also the possible physical assaults that may come their way?
We were having lunch with a friend yesterday. He and my daughter Lucy were talking about the mission field. He was mentioning that we grew up on stories like “Through Gates of Splendor”, the story of Jim and Elisabeth Elliott who were some of the first missionaries in Ecuador. How the missionary men were all killed by the tribes. And how the wives of these men came back and raised their children there because it was all about spreading God’s kingdom, and not about what had been done to them. And how, because of that, the tribes became Christians and God’s word is still spreading to this day in the jungles of Ecuador.
When did you ever teach your child about counting the cost? About following through with what God has for you no matter what?
My cousin posted this blog this morning on FB. It’s called “Raising Persecution-Ready Kids“. (You can read it by clicking on the title). So, basically twice in two days, God has driven this point home to me. THIS is why I needed to write this today. Why I basically was pushed into writing this post. Because folks, we need to stop the fairy tale thinking of our kids. Why we need to be vocal ourselves about Jesus no matter what.
If you look at the state of our entire world today, you can see it coming. You can feel the persecution happening. It happens in the Middle East by the beheading and just today the shooting of a busload of Christians. You can see it here in America by the bakery that went out of business for not providing a wedding cake to a gay couple. Yes, you can debate that one; should they or shouldn’t they… but it all comes down to the point that we are losing our very rights to believe and act as Christians.
We need to pull our heads out of the sand and start living from places of victory… ala Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world! We need to strap on our warrior boots like Lisa Whittle’s book tells us. It’s time to start looking up because things in the world are starting to change and not at a snail’s pace, but faster and faster as if a huge storm is coming. And we definitely need to start preparing our children.
God forbid we or our kids have to do this very thing. But we need to be prepared. We need to be intentional in preparing our kids. So start today. Tell your kids a story that has an ending with God’s kingdom coming out the winner. One I can remember in recent history is the story of Rachel Scott who had written stuff about sharing in Christ’s sufferings only a few days before she was murdered at Columbine HS in the massacre. She was asked if she was a Christian and she looked down the barrel of the gun at the person holding it and replied yes. Would you have that kind of courage? Would your children have that deep seeded courage?
I pray we take heed. When God repeats Himself, it’s not without reason. It’s important. So start today!