Friday, January 23, 2009

Total Commitment and Single-mindedness

Jesus said, “Whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:33) A disciple is one who follows and learns from a teacher which infers that there is a desire on the part of the disciple to obey his teacher. The starkness of Jesus’ statement is evident, that without forsaking all possessions and all self-seeking there is not a remote chance of being His disciple. Jesus has also said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” (Matthew 16:24, 25) Exclusion from the life Jesus talks of and exclusion from His discipleship is only too evident for those unable to comply with the requirements.

It would appear that the disciple of Jesus must be totally and wholeheartedly committed to following Him in all things. Taking up ones cross implies hardship beyond imagining. How can one qualify for discipleship of Jesus? How desirable is such a walk? The blessings of inheriting an eternal kingdom that far exceeds anything this world has to offer is something really desirable while the temporary deprivations and hardships encountered along the way are trifling by comparison, and yet our experiences tells us that what we have now is tangible and what is promised for the future is ephemeral.

This is where ‘faith’ plays her part. Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6) and be a disciple of His Son. This God-given gift (Ephesians 2:8) enables His disciples to forsake all and to count hardships along the way as sheer joy for His sake. (James 1:2) The single-mindedness of the Christian is summed up by the author of Hebrews in verses 1 and 2 of Chapter 12 when he implores his readers with these words, “Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

What has this to do with my passion for boating and sailing? It has absolutely everything to do with it, because if I place my self-centred obsession before my discipleship of Jesus I am no longer worthy to be a son of His. (Luke 15:19)