What king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. Likewise, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple. Jesus, circa 33 AD, Luke 14:31-33 ESV
In the latter part of Luke 14, we find Jesus surrounded by a large crowd. But unlike what you or I might have been tempted to do, He never played to the audience. He wasn’t concerned about His ratings. He wasn’t running for office or trying to attract the biggest crowd in town. He knew full well that when some heard His message, they would lose interest in His movement. But that didn’t keep Him from being straightforward. Jesus looked at the crowd of would-be disciples and said, in effect, “If you want to follow Me, you need to understand what’s involved.” He didn’t speak in sweeping generalities; rather, He identified specific issues that must be surrendered by those who call themselves His followers. Things like our relationships, our physical bodies, our rights, our possessions. “Yes, and even your own life. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple” (verses 26–27).
It’s one thing to have an emotional experience at a Christian gathering where you’re inspired and challenged to yield control of everything to God. It’s another matter to live out that surrender once the emotion of the moment has passed—when the bus gets home from the conference, when you lose your job and the bills keep coming, when you find out you’re expecting your fifth child in seven years, when your mate is diagnosed with a terminal illness.
The extent of your discipleship will be determined in the laboratory of life, through daily, moment-by-moment choices and responses that reveal how surrendered you really are to following Christ.
Do you trust Him enough to pray this prayer? “Lord, I surrender every part of my being to You afresh today. Please work out that surrender in my life every day, in every matter, from now until I bow before You in eternity.”