If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. 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? Otherwise he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying “This man began to build and was not able to finish.” Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not sit down and consider whether he strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still a far away, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.
Therefore salt is good; but if even salt has become tasteless, with what will it be seasoned? It is useless either for the soil or for the manure pile; it is thrown out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear! (Luke 14:26-35, NASB)
Discipleship is the highest calling of a Believer, but the cost is great. This passage deals with evaluating the cost before one jumps into discipleship as seen in the very first word if. A disciple is many things and we have been defining it as we go, but here is another definition to add: a disciple mimics Jesus Christ and walks in His steps. Discipleship has many conditions that we must consider before the call is answered, the biggest of which is we sacrifice our will for His will, which I suggest again is done through becoming poor in spirit. The call is for us – will we follow with all our hearts?
“For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:11-13, NASB)
Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in HIM, and He shall bring it to pass. (Psalm 37:4-5, NKJV)
If anyone comes to Me. If lets us know there is a choice to become His disciple. The call has come forth and we have to make a choice if we will follow Jesus and become a disciple of His.
And does not hate his … cannot be My disciple. No family relationship or even the love of our self should be put before our love for the Christ. The Greek word for hate here is a hard word to translate into English because there is no English equivalent. Hate literally means to love something so less in intensity it appears as hate in comparison to the thing loved most. In other words our love for the Christ is to be so strong that our love for ourselves and family members look like hate in comparison. That sure seems like a tall order to fill. But I believe I found the answer to how this can be done and it is to become poor in spirit.
We see from this part of the passage that discipleship’s foundation is our love for Jesus. We see this affirmed by the First commandment:
You shall have no other gods before or besides Me. (Exodus 20:3, Amplified)
No gods, no family member, nothing is to come between you and your relationship with the Christ. Love Him above all others. It has been said by many (originator is not known), “He is the First among One God, not First among many.” There should be a stark deference between our love for the Lord and our love for anything else. This is where discipleship begins.
Evaluate your love for Jesus in comparison to your love for yourself and the love of family; make your love for Jesus foremost by taking the steps necessary to becoming poor in spirit as explained latter in this blog.