So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.Luke 14:33
Jesus paints a very narrow door for those that would be His disciples. If we do not renounce all that we have and all that we are, we cannot be His disciples. All selfishness must go if we are to walk in the footsteps of Christ. We must seek the Lord concerning the things in our lives. The Spirit of God is great at pointing out things that must be forsaken. We need to be sensitive to the Lord’s voice. He gives commands, but in a still, soft voice. If we are distracted by the world and its noise, we might miss something. Spend much time alone with Christ so that you will recognize His gentle, meek voice.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.Matthew 13:44
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.Matthew 13:45-46
We must sell out ALL THAT WE HAVE in order to have the hidden treasure of Christ. Dying to self is painful, but with the Lord’s help we can do it with joy, just like Christ died for the joy set before Him. We have no rights to anything but Christ. That’s the life of a true Christian. That’s how you can know that you are on the right path: did it COST EVERYTHING YOU USED TO BE? The self life, the old man of the flesh, must be crucified with Christ in order to have eternal life!
And again he said, Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God? It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.Luke 13:20-21
The kingdom of God starts working in us slowly at first. Then, as it gains momentum it removes from our lives everything we formerly lived for. Fortunately for us, God doesn’t chop off the branches all at once. He lovingly prunes the branches of our lives until they conform to the image of Jesus Christ. We are a work in progress. Christ will show us how to walk in self abandonment if we are willing and zealous for HIM. Step by step, inch by inch He reveals things that don’t please Him. At no point do we lose our freewill. We must surrender it to God in loving obedience. Jesus said, if you love me, keep my commandments. We are constantly counting the cost of a life of service to Christ and others. Just because we obeyed yesterday doesn’t mean we will today. We are continually being tried by the fire of God’s Spirit.
Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.Luke 6:47-48
In order to be on the Rock of Christ, that solid foundation, we must DIG DEEP. Dig deep within ourselves to muster up all the courage we can. We are told to be strong and very courageous, so that we may do all that is commanded of us. Are we digging deep each day? Do we neglect time in prayer or time in the Word? Do we love God and others at EVERY POSSIBLE OPPORTUNITY? If not, we still have some dying to do. The best advice I can give is to surrender all to Christ all at once. It will save Him having to point out things that don’t please Him. Things of the world have to go. They have no place in the life of a true Christian. We must do away with casual Christianity. In true Christianity, YOU ARE NAILED TO A CROSS, just like Christ! It is a bloody affair. The life of the flesh is in the blood and Christ will cost you your whole life. In return, Christ will give you eternal life. The genuine life that flows from His throne through His Spirit and His Word.
But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.Philippians 3:7-11
Doing things for our own pleasure is contrary to a life of Christ. Christ pleased not Himself. His joy was in serving His Father. Likewise, our joy is in serving Christ. We must conform unto His death, which is the death of the cross. Christ says if we don’t pick up our cross daily and follow Him, we are not worthy of Him. We should be in the habit of denying ourselves, so that we may rejoice the heart of God in all things. We should be willing to give up anything and everything, if God so requires. This is the price of eternal life, which is knowing the Father and Jesus Christ whom He has sent.
Earlier this year the Lord put on my heart to get rid of my TV and my large DVD collection. It was an idol in my life, stealing away much time that could have been used for eternal things in Christ. So, I gladly gave it up. Since then, the time I used to spend watching TV and movies has been absorbed by seeking the Lord in prayer and Bible reading. Like Paul, I count the loss of those things as dung, that I may have Christ instead. We can have the world or we can have Christ, but not both at the same time. Choose you this day who you will serve, Jesus or yourself!