The Apostle Paul warned that many would be deceived in the last days because they would only want to have their ears tickled, meaning they could not endure hearing anything difficult or challenging. If you make it through the next few weeks with the Word for the Week, we will know you are not in that category because we are addressing the most difficult issues about discipleship first, such as the Lord’s statement in Luke 14:33:
“So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.”
Could this possibly be literal? It is literal. Does this mean that we must sell everything we have and give the money to the poor to follow Him as He required of the rich young ruler? Not necessarily. It does mean that everything we own becomes His when we give our lives to Him. We have been bought with a price, and we no longer belong to ourselves but to Him.
When we become a disciple of the Lord, we go from being in control of our own lives to coming under the Lord’s authority. We are not dealing with a man but the Lord of the universe. Every human problem is the result of man thinking he could disobey God and run the world without Him. The answer to every human problem is to return to Him and seek to obey Him in all things. This is to the point that everything we have is no longer ours but His, and we are just stewards of it. Whether He requires us to give it all away or manage it is up to Him, but this is the only way to our ultimate freedom.
This includes our most precious possession, our time. We no longer live for ourselves but for Him in every way. We do not just do what we want, but we seek His will in all things.
As we mature as servants, we are given more freedom and more authority. The faithful servants do become His friends that He shares everything with. The faithful friends can become His sons and daughters that He gives all things to, including freedom and authority beyond what any mere human king could ever experience. However, it begins with basic, profound obedience.
The life of a true disciple is the most difficult life we can live in some ways, but also the most liberating, fulfilling, and exciting. The greatest freedom we will ever know is being Christ’s slave. It is not easy, but it is worth it in every way in this life, and then we have the ultimate benefit of eternal life.
Who really lives this way though? True disciples do. There are not many disciples, but there are some. The times we are entering will reveal the true disciples from the pretenders. Those who just wanted “fire insurance,” thinking they just need to believe in Him enough to escape the wrath to come, but not really doing what He says, not even caring enough to seek to know what His will is, are going to have a very tragic end according to the Scriptures.
The greatest affront to any relationship is indifference. The Lord said in Revelation 3:16 that He will spew the lukewarm out of His mouth. God is gracious and longsuffering, but He makes it very clear that there is a limit to His patience, and He is not to be taken for granted. To call on the Lord and to be called by His name, claiming to be His follower, is a most serious matter. He warns about this in Matthew 7:21-23:
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.”
“Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’
“And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’”
Here we see that “many” will come to Him on that day having done extraordinary works in His name but will not be able to enter the kingdom of heaven! That the Lord did not “know” these who will be rejected is not the same word that is used to know who they are. The word used for “know” here is a deep and intimate relationship such as a husband and wife. This is the kind of relationship that God created man for, and only by having this relationship with God will we ever achieve a truly successful life regardless of what other works we may do.
There is still time to have this relationship with Him. This is the greatest opportunity in all of creation. Do not waste it.