the cost of discipleship.

Posted by Tori on Jan 25, 2011 in a good word.

I’ve begun reading this book by David Platt. At first, I’ll be honest, I didn’t think I would like it. Then, I read the first chapter and my mind was totally changed! I will tell you that I am not finished with it yet, but based on what I have read so far, I highly recommend it. I hope to have it finished before the girls get here…we’ll se how that goes.  🙂

I don’t necessarily mean to comment on the book here, but Platt speaks about a chapter in the Bible that I think it’s important for me to revisit in my own life right now. Luke 9. In Luke 9 we learn so much about our Lord: his character, his ministry, the church, and what He means for a follower of His to look like. It is the last of these that has struck my heart over the last few days. Here’s what the closing verses of the chapter say.

57 As they were going along the road, someone said to Him, “I will follow You wherever You go.”58 And Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”59 And He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.”60 But He said to him, “Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God.”61 Another also said, “I will follow You, Lord; but first permit me to say good-bye to those at home.”62 But Jesus said to him, “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Platt breaks down these verses and their implications on the follower of Christ. It almost seems as if Jesus is attempting to talk these fellows out of following him. What He means to show us is that following Him has EXTREME implications. Not just for the men that approached Him that day, or for the 12 men who shared life with Him during His ministry. The implications for us today are just as radical. Too often, we fail to truly grasp this.

The first man told Jesus that he would follow Him wherever He went. How often have we told Jesus that? Here’s what Jesus says to him, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” While God does promise to provide for us, followers of Christ are not necessarily guaranteed that they will have adequate shelter.

Jesus invited the second man to follow Him. The man told Jesus about his father, and asked if he could bury him first. Startlingly, Jesus replies, “Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God.” Stated even more simply: Don’t take care of your dad’s funeral arrangements or even go to the funeral. There are more important things for you to be doing.

Another man approaches, indicating that he wants to follow Christ after he says goodbye to his family. Jesus responds, “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” The decision to follow Jesus requires total, exclusive, and sole devotion to Him.

Platt sums it up:

“Become homeless.

“Let someone else bury your dad.

“Don’t even say goodbye to your family.”

The call to follow Christ has not changed. This is what it looks like to follow Him…then and now.

He doesn’t just require certain believers to follow Him in radical ways. He calls all of us to follow Him radically.

Platt writes, “This is where we come face to face with a dangerous reality. We do have to give up everything we have to follow Jesus. We do have to love him in a way that makes our closest relationships in this world look like hate. And it is entirely possible that he will tell us to sell everything we have and give it to the poor. But we don’t want to believe it. We are afraid of what it might mean for our lives. So we rationalize those passages away. ‘Jesus wouldn’t really tell us not to bury our father or say good-bye to our family. Jesus didn’t literally mean to sell all we have and give it to the poor. What Jesus really meant was…’ And this is where we need to pause. Because we are starting to redefine Christianity.”

So I have to ask myself, “Do I really believe that Jesus is worth losing EVERYTHING for? Do I really believe that HE is so satisfying and so fulfilling that I’m willing to leave everything I have and everything I am to find my fullness in Him? Do I believe Him enough to obey Him and to truly follow Him WHEREVER He leads – even when others in my culture, or even my church, choose a different response?”

I want to know and understand the Gospel in truth, not for what we have manipulated it to mean. I want to see a purpose for my life that transcends the country and culture I live in, and recognize my desperate need for His presence to fulfill that purpose in me. I want to re-evaluate where true security and safety are found in this world, and determine not to waste my life on anything but reckless abandonment to my Savior who invites me to be a part of His work in a radical way and promises radical reward.

Lord, accomplish this work in me. Make my heart like yours. Change my mind. Help me to follow in obedience.

Extravagant Grace

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