Accept Jesus as Your Friend!
I did it again. I just accepted another stranger as my “facebook friend”. Well, we had three friends in common, studied in similar schools, and apparently he is a family man like me. I guess that is reason enough, right? Well by social media standards he is now officially my friend (whatever that means these days).
“Accept Jesus as your friend!”, I’ve heard. “Its all that you need to make him your friend”, I’ve heard. It seems to me that this statement (as spiritual as it might sound) at times is as shallow as our social media friendship. It seems that by “accepting Jesus as our friend” it means we will occasionally see him in our wall and take a peek into what he is up to. Maybe it means we will like his comments or even ignore them all the same. What is really funny is that Jesus never called anyone to “befriend” him but he did call people into being his disciples, and that my friends is a complete different story. Jesus’ call to discipleship was and is outrageously direct. He didn’t sugar coat it, or down play it, in fact he wanted everyone he called to be aware of the requirements he demanded from his disciples. I think Jesus was so direct because he knew what was on the line.
In Luke 14:25-35 Jesus gives a synopsis of what it means to be one of his disciples. There is a crowd following Jesus but not all in the crowd were his disciples. It is similar to what happens in social media. Even though we have many (maybe thousands) of “friends” or “followers” not all of them are really, truly, our friends. Becoming a Disciple of Jesus requires A.S.C.S.
Luke 14:25-26 says, “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.” Hold up! Jesus said what? Hate? Isn’t Jesus supposed to be about love? Yes he is! In fact in this verse Jesus is not advising that we hate family or ourselves because he taught that the greatest commandment was to love God with everything you had a love others as you love yourself. What Jesus was really saying was that if you were in a position you had to choose between him and your parents, your spouse, your kids or your life; you would have to choose him in order to be his disciple . If Jesus today was in social media I’m sure he would still post the same statement.
Becoming a Disciple of Jesus requires complete Allegiance to him.
If we are to become Jesus disciples we are required to make him our #1 priority in life. The people in the crowd that day understood what Jesus was saying. To become a Jesus disciple in those days meant to experiment ridicule, rejection and even persecution. There is no such thing as accepting Jesus “as our friend” and going about our life however we want to live it. Our allegiance to Jesus is not as our “buddy” but as our Lord God and as such we are to love him and obey him above friends family including life preferences.
There was no such thing as a casual embracing of Jesus.
Becoming a Disciple of Jesus requires Sacrifice
“And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me CANNOT be my disciple.”
There is no discipleship without sacrifice.
We are all called to sacrifice something. When Jesus called his disciples they left their careers, their hometowns, their families and friends and followed him. Maybe you are not called to sacrifice all of these at the same time, but what is it that Jesus is calling you to sacrifice? Is it time, lifestyle, finances or comforts? There is no discipleship without sacrifice. You may be able to tag yourself as a “Christian” when it comes to your religious views but what really matters is if Jesus can identify you as one of his disciples. Jesus spoke plainly about this:
Matthew 7:21-23 “NOT EVERYONE who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, BUT ONLY THE ONE WHO DOES THE WILL OF MY FATHER who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
These were people that had added Jesus as their “friend” but not as their Lord. They refused to submit to the will of the Fatherand continued to do their own.
Becoming a Disciple of Jesus requires Careful Consideration
Jesus continued to say:
Luke 14:28-30 “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? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’
Becoming Jesus’ disciple is the most important decision you will make in your life and as such it requires careful consideration.
Jesus uses this illustration wanting his listeners and you and I to understand that there is a price to pay for following him. All of Jesus’ disciples (but John) payed with their lives. Salvation is free but following Jesus will eventually cost you something! Are you willing to pay the price? It is so important for Jesus that we consider what we are getting into that he gave a second illustration:
Luke 14:31-32 “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? 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.
This time Jesus makes an illustration regarding war. In following Jesus there is a war to be fought. Probably the biggest war will be against self. Will we allow ourselves to be our kings and queens or will we submit to Jesus our King? Jesus wants us to carefully consider what discipleship means, what is the price to be payed and what is the war to be fought. Becoming a Disciple of Jesus requires Surrender.
Luke 14:33 In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have CANNOT be my disciples. Jesus is not interested in having a big crowd follow him, but he is interested in everyone in the crowd becoming his disciple. True discipleship requires surrendering everything to him and everything means everything. Our relationship, our time, talents, resources, all. If we are to become Jesus’ disciples we are to surrender to him wholeheartedly not merely accept his friendship casually.
Here are four very important questions you should ask yourself in order to be authentic disciples:
- Over whom do you need to commit?
- What do you need to sacrifice?
- What do you need to consider?
- What part haven’t you surrendered?
Can you imagine your life if your allegiance was completely to Jesus? What would it be like if you were to sacrifice those things that Jesus is calling you to? How would your Christian experience be different if you were to consider what it means to follow Jesus in your life? Just imagine your life once you’ve surrender all parts of your life to Jesus!