Devotional Thoughts for Today
“A Love That Hates”
Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him,30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple. 34 “Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? 35 It is of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile. It is thrown away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
All of us are probably familiar with what we called the “terms and conditions” of a product or service—but we hardly ever read it closely. Think about it: when was the last time you actually read the terms and conditions before signing or clicking the OK button? In college, I had a friend who signed up for a car detailing service, unaware of the following terms and conditions: there was a discount price for the first three washes and details, but after that the price jumped up to almost double the cost. So after he got his car detailed the fourth time, he was shocked at the enormous bill! His failure to read and understand the terms cost him dearly.
In today’s passage, Jesus makes it clear that when we decide to follow Him, we have to be willing to follow on His terms and conditions. This passage is probably one of the harshest, but also the clearest, teachings on what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. His main idea is this:
Salvation costs you nothing, but discipleship will cost you everything. Salvation occurs in a moment. Discipleship takes a lifetime. Salvation is something God did for us. Discipleship is something you do for God. It is not for the casual or consumer Christian who desires to follow God on his or her own terms.
The parable we see in today’s passage is about a tower and a king. Whenever someone builds a tower, a wise person assesses the expenses and cost. Jesus is addressing people who make decisions solely based on excitement and emotions, thus making hasty decisions to follow Him. Jesus is telling them to think about the commitment that is required; it’s not just about emotions and excitement but a lifetime of discipleship. The second picture is of a king who is outnumbered. Instead of just jumping into war, a wise king would assess the cost of war before entering into battle; and if he knew he could not win or complete the battle, he would surrender. The same goes for discipleship: we must access and count the cost before we are willing to follow.
Why would anyone follow Jesus like this? We need to remember this is an invitation that Jesus gives us to experience abundant life. It is out of His unconditional love and amazing grace that motivates us to follow Him. Let’s continue to follow Jesus on His terms, and may we be filled with joy as we do.
Prayer: Lord, we acknowledge that it is not easy to follow You, but I pray that You would give us the courage and strength to follow. Give us great joy as we count the cost daily. Amen!
Bible Reading: 1 John 3
Lunch Break Study
Read John 15:1-11: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. 9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
Questions to Consider
- What do you think it means when Jesus says that we are called to “abide in him”? Why is this so important?
- What is the fruit Jesus is referring to and what is required to bear it?
- What is the result of abiding in Christ, according to verse 11? Is this true in your life? Why or why not?
- To abide in Him simply means to be in union with Christ. It’s having a constant and intimate relationship with Him so that we would grow into His likeness.
- Bearing fruit means that we produce the character of Christ in our lives (see Galatians 5:22-23). Jesus says that this often requires pruning of our selfish nature and old ways, so that He can do the work that is required for transformation.
- As we abide, we are promised joy to the fullest. As we walk in obedience, we are promised true joy that only comes from Him.
Spend time in prayer, asking the Lord specifically to have unconditional heart to follow and obey no matter the cost. Pray that your love for Christ would be the highest priority over any other love and as you do, ask for an increase of joy.