Updated: Jun 7, 2018
Forsake what you have. Letting go is better than letting in.
Luke 14:33 - Whoever of you who does not forsake all that he has cannot be my disciple.
To be a disciple of Jesus, a number of requirements must be fulfilled. Jesus is the greatest leader, known to man. He understands that followers that need nothing to be fulfilled are powerful - these are the followers that He wants as His disciples. As a leader, He looks at willingness - when followers are willing to let go, they show that they really want to be a disciple. For example, if you want to be lawyer, you must let go of laziness, other hobbies that distract you, the comfort of living at home or taking the easy route. You must let go to enter in. If you didn't let go of laziness, you would struggle to make it through the first year of law school. Think of flying as a means of transportation - you are entitled to a certain amount of baggage. There is only so much that you can take with you on your journey. You can't take your whole wardrobe with you. In the same way, to fly with Jesus, you must let go of earth pertaining things. If Jesus accepted disciples that didn't forsake all that they had, He would accept followers that lack certainty. A follower that struggles to let go would be a follower that is uncertain about the duty of discipleship, following Jesus and things that pertain to heaven. Another example is a gym membership - a gym membership has things in place that need to be followed. You can't gym with sandals - you are required to wear closed in shoes like sneakers. Wearing sneakers to the gym is just one of the things you must do to have access to the gym. In the same way, to be a disciple of Jesus, forsaking all that you have is just one of the things you must do to have access to the benefits of being a disciple.
"A follower that struggles to let go would be a follower that is uncertain about the duty of discipleship."
You either make a choice to be a disciple, or you don't, but there is no in-between. If you are in-between discipleship and the world, you are in fact, lukewarm and this is not a state you want to be in. The word, lukewarm is only mentioned once in the Bible - in Revelation 3:16 where the Lord states his antipathy towards lukewarm Christians - those that he vomits out of his mouth. Jesus prefers that you be cold or hot for his kingdom. In-between is not an option unless you like the Lord showcasing his disgust towards you.
Jesus authoritatively asserts the forsaking of all possessions as the key to our claim to all that is promised to us in his word. All means everything - the whole lot - Jesus wants you and your possessions. We are not a proprietor, we are a steward; we are the creation of God, not the creator. A creator has ownership of that which He creates. Therefore, we must be glad that God even gave us a choice - showing us supreme love - the fact that we have a choice given to us by the star breathing God makes it clear that we must let go of everything because we don't deserve anything. We wouldn't be able to have anything if He did not decide to have us. He enabled us to have, therefore, is it not appropriate in thanks, that we honour his commands despite their magnitude? There are three things we must do to live out this scripture; firstly, we must forsake the world and the things that pertain to the world. When we do this, we open our eyes to things above. Secondly, we must deny ourselves and even our family, especially when they by any means hinder us from following Him. In Matthew 10:37, Jesus says, "He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of Me." This point is exemplified further in Luke 14:26 where Jesus states, "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple." Of course, the word hate here does not mean the act of hating; for hatred of any kind is not encouraged by Jesus; for this would be contrary to the laws of God. However, that these are not preferred, not to be loved more than Christ, to be neglected when they indeed stand in the way of the interests of Christ. The Greek meaning of the word hate in this scripture is ψυχὴ; ‘soul’ or ‘animal life’ - those passions and temptations which alienate the spirit from Christ. Such is to be hated, and sacrificed if anyone finds themselves unable to control such things. Forsaking family does not mean leaving them by the wayside, it means that the love you have for them must not be greater than the love you have for Jesus. Thirdly, we must forsake life itself - to forsake life means to not renounce Him. When you don't forsake life itself, you are in actual fact, renouncing Him. For example, if you have a discussion with someone that would treat you differently if you tell them how much you love Jesus, and as a result, decide not to tell them about your love for Jesus. That is, in fact, renouncing Jesus, rather than life.
"We won't be able to have if He did not decide to have us."
The hard truth is that the being of a disciple is an impossibility unless we comply with this requirement of Luke 14:33. Christ said, "He cannot," not that a man will be an inconsistent disciple, or a half-hearted disciple but a man that cannot be a disciple. Some fellow humans might view a person that does not forsake all as a disciple, but Christ most definitely does not. Jesus is a perfect example of forsaking all - Philippians 2:5-8, "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”
2 Corinthians 5:14-15 - For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.
Nothing on earth can be taken to heaven anyway. Why pursue things that are not everlasting? Do the things you purchase on earth provide you with a lifetime warranty? If they do, I'll be impressed. With certainty, I can exclaim that the Lord indeed does provide a lifetime warranty - an eternity warranty. Everything that the Lord says is backed by an eternity warranty. Living a life of complete abandonment enables us to live in the realm of eternity. Complete surrender. When you understand that nothing of earth has any eternal value, you begin to redefine what value is. You begin to view value as the degree to which things and activities pertain to eternity, things like love, joy, the Holy Spirit and God's presence are eternal and have value. Things like watching Netflix has zero eternal value. You begin to understand the power of abandonment. Abandon, relinquish and renounce mean to give up all concern in something. Every one of us has a 100% concern meter. Our daily actions are a result of our concerns. Christ wants us to give up or discontinue any interest in something that uses up our concern meter. He wants us to renounce worldly pleasures. Does the Lord provide you with pleasure, or does the world? Are you concerned about the advancement of the Kingdom of God, or the kingdom of man?
"Living a life of complete abandonment enables us to live in the realm of eternity."
Jesus gives us an option to fly with him. When you fly with Jesus, you must surrender all that you have. That is a requirement of flying with Jesus. My question is, who are you flying with? Are you flying with your friends or are you flying with Jesus? Is the football more important than reading the word? Is the sound system your saving for more important than Jesus? The reality is, that what you focus on is what you get and to focus on eternity, we must let go of worldly pleasures. When we don't let go of the worldly pleasures, they are in our way. We cannot see the life that God has for us because we are too busy trying to make our way through all our possessions. By letting go of possessions, we are opening up a discipleship journey.
Everytime God asks us something that is big in the eyes of the flesh and difficult to do in our strength, he does it for our benefit, not for his benefit. He doesn't need us to follow him. He created us. He is a star breathing God. Us following Him pleases Him, but He doesn't need us to do it. If He needed us to follow Him, He would have told us to do it and would not have provided us with a choice. The fact that we have been giving a choice makes it clear that his discipleship requirements are for our benefit, not for His. Therefore, knowing that it is for our benefit, is it not clear that the act of letting go enables us to enter in and live out a greater purpose? Everything everyone does, they do for them, they do it for their benefit. I believe, that the benefits of letting go far outweighs the benefits of letting in. In the world today, it is very easy to let things in. Whatever fleshly desire someone has - there are things out there that could meet those fleshly desires. Meeting those fleshly desires requires the ownership of something or some service, which in and of itself, is ungodly. Our desires don’t matter. Excuse my brutal honesty, but life is not about us. We would not have life if it wasn't for God. That's what this is blog is all about. The word says in Psalm 37:4 - "Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart." It doesn't say that the Lord will give us the desires of our flesh. The desires that are in your heart are the desires that are placed there by the heart of God - his will. These are the desires that the Lord will happily provide you with.
The most empowering thing is this that the forsaking of all worldly pleasures is the letting in of all eternal pleasures. To let go is to let in the wonder of life and eternity. It is a not only a reasonable duty, but it is a highly advantageous duty that we can and must discharge. We must forsake all, not only because He commands us to do so, but because He loves us and gave Himself for us. He promised that he would provide us with what we need to be able to complete that which he asked of us and He gave us infinitely beyond what we are able to give ourselves. What makes you think that you can give greater things to yourself than the Lord can give you?
"The forsaking of all worldly pleasures is the letting in of all eternal pleasures."
What are some things in your life that you love more than Jesus? What can you sell or even throw away that distracts you from time that you can spend with the Lord? What family members and friends in your life hinder you from following Jesus?
If you want to learn more, simply browse these blog categories: