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Discipleship is not for the faint of heart

Do you have what it takes to be a disciple of Jesus Christ? Try not to answer too quickly, for the demands of discipleship are extremely difficult and not for the faint of heart.

Jesus clearly warns his disciples and would-be disciples about this truth in our passage for today. He tells them there is a cost that comes with being one of his followers. He says to be his disciple you must “hate” your family, take up your cross and renounce all of your possessions.

Let’s see what he means by each of these three conditions. First, the call to follow him compels us to make a choice. Once we make a decision to follow him, we are better able to recognize that he is the supreme good for which our hearts long. Our relationship with him must take primacy with respect to all other things or the path of discipleship will be impossible for us. When we choose to put him first by being his disciple, we choose to live new relationships with those we love in the world and even with those we struggle to love. This is what he means by “hating” your family.

The second condition for discipleship is met by our fulfillment of the first. In making Jesus our first love, we are necessarily choosing to take up our cross. When we choose the cross, we choose to live mercy and forgiveness. Forgiveness is the greatest act of freedom a disciple can perform because failing to forgive means that we are holding a grudge and choosing to remain chained to the past rather than choosing to live in the freedom Jesus won for us on the Cross.  

Finally, we must be willing to relinquish all our possessions. Total commitment to Jesus requires us to be detached from anything that will slow down or impede our mission to make the love of Christ known to the world. These possessions can be attachments to worldly possessions or even an attachment to unforgiveness. No matter what it is, if it keeps us from holiness, we must cast it aside.