Discipleship is never an option for a Christian. Jesus has to be our personal Savior and Lord as well. He had laid down the terms of following Him in Luke 14:26, 27 and 33.
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 carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. 33 So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.
On the surface, these 3 terms – surrendering all relationship, self ambition and possessions – seem terribly harsh. The rich young ruler walked away sadly from our Lord because he could not give up all his possessions. Luke 18:18-25. If he could not surrender his possessions to Jesus, Mammon was still his god and entering heaven was hard for such rich people.
But if we see this life as the training period we have to go through under the tutelage of the Spirit of our Lord and surrender all relationship, self ambitions and possessions, we can eventually understand all this discipline, though painful at times, will yield in us the fruit of righteousness. On the contrary, when we seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness first, all these things will be added to us. Matt 6:33.
It is a paradox. When you give up, you have it. But when you refuse to give up, you lose it.
He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it. Matt 10:39.
Scripture exhorts us to endure trials or suffering as discipline from God to train us in righteousness. Heb 12: 7-11. NIV.
Scripture further adds that we ought to rejoice in suffering for it produces hope in the end.
3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
By surrendering to the terms set by our Lord to be His disciples, He is actually protecting us.
If any mishap happens to our family and loved ones and we have truly surrendered them to the sovereignty of God, there will be no devastating hurt as we know eventually all are appointed to die once and after that comes judgment.
If we lose our job or business and we have truly surrendered to the sovereignty of God, there will be no crushing damage to our self esteem as we believe contentment with godliness is great gain and we are content with just food and lodging.
If we lose all our possessions which anyway have belonged to our Lord when we have surrendered, what other material loss can devastate us ?
Rom 8: 18
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
The coming glory will fulfill every good human aspiration. That is the Christian hope.