“Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate their 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.” – Luke 14:25-27
The word “hate” Jesus uses is a hyperbole, an exaggeration to get a point across. He doesn’t want us to really hate people; he just wants us to love Him so much that there is no comparison, not even with your spouse! With any relationship you have, you are called to love, but the love in your relationship with God should far exceed them all.
What does it mean to be Christ’s disciple?
Disciple: any follower of Christ
When I was younger I thought a follower of Christ was a Christian. Then after deep studies of God’s word and being the best of the best Christian, one would be called a “disciple.” I missed the part where Christ calls anyone willing to follow Him a disciple.
So as a disciple, what is God calling us to do?
We are called to love.
“Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” –Matthew 22:27-40
To love someone you need to spend intimate time with them. Are we spending intimate time with God? On a daily basis?
Also, going back to Luke 14, we are called to carry our cross.
“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” – Galatians 5:24
Taking up our cross means to die to self and live for Christ. We need to understand that Christ transforms us when we come to Him. Are we humbling ourselves to Him? Are we allowing Him full access to our heart? Are we willing to die to this world to follow Him? That is not a casual requirement, it is a commitment we are asked to make when we choose Christ!
We are called to study Christ’s teaching and apply them.
In John 8:31-32 Jesus explains, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” – John 10:27
“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” – John 15:7-8
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” – James 1:22
Are we listening to the voice of God, which resounds through His word? Are we acknowledging His teachings and applying them to our life? Are we applying them to our marriage? Do we understand what it means to “bear fruit” and are we producing fruit?
We are called to follow His footsteps.
“To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.” – 1 Peter 2:21
To follow His steps means to know where he walked… what example did he make for us? If we follow Christ’s example, does that mean we will suffer? Are we WILLING to suffer for Christ? This is not a casual requirement to be a disciple; it is a commitment!
The difference between being casual or being committed in your relationship with God can be found in the answers to the above questions. If you are not willing: to give all of yourself to God, to spend time with Him, to understand His teachings and apply them to your life, than are you a disciple of Christ? Are you a Christian?
To be a disciple means that you are committed, not casual. It means you are willing to heed the call that which has been placed on the adopted children of God!
To dig a little deeper are you a committed wife or a casual wife? Do you uphold the vows you spoke to your husband on your wedding day? Do you live according to the standards God calls wives to?
“However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” – Ephesians 5:33
“Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct.” – 1 Peter 3:1-2
“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.” – Ephesians 5:22-24
“Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.” – Hebrews 13:4
“The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.” – Proverbs 31:11-12
God calls us to be COMMITTED! We should strive to live according to His word and rebuke the threat of casual!