The gift of salvation is free. (Romans 5:15) However, there is the cost of discipleship that all must consider. Luke 14:25-33 (NIV) provides us with a recount of Jesus speaking to the mixed multitude of followers. Not everyone in the multitude were true followers of Christ. Jesus being aware of this fact spoke to the multitude regarding the requirements of true discipleship. Jesus was not interested in enthusiasts. He was seeking true disciples. Verses 26-27 says, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”
In these verses, Jesus emphasizes that a true disciple must be willing to give up family, friends, and their own lives to follow Him. This is very important. Not simply because we must be willing to give up everyone and everything but because it means that our lives are not our own. We do not live for ourselves; we live for Christ. It is also important to focus specifically on verse 27. Jesus makes references to carrying their own crosses. The cross is a symbol of suffering and persecution. In other words, are you willing to be insulted, physically beaten, and/or tortured to serve Him? Will you lay down your life in service for Him? He encouraged the followers to reflect upon these requirements before willfully committing.
In Matthew 7:21-23, Jesus states that not everyone that cries out proclaiming to prophesy, cast out demons, and perform miracles in His name will enter the kingdom of heaven. Furthermore, Jesus says that He will tell them, “…‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” This group of people are the hypocrites displaying a form of godliness, without the power. In Matthew 25:31-46, speaks of Jesus’ return and how he will address the sheep and the goats. Sheep are symbolic of God’s children who will reap the inheritance of the kingdom and eternal life. The goats represent the hypocrites who will receive eternal punishment.
There is a difference between calling ourselves a Christian and actually being one. Christian are called not to love the world or anything in it. (1 John 2:15) It is our duty to be living sacrifices. (Romans 12:1) Our greatest commandment is to “…’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.” We must evaluate ourselves honestly and soberly. Now that we know what it takes to be a true disciple we must ask ourselves the question. Is God seeking us?