Truly following Jesus has a high cost: your old life. It doesn’t work if you’re just saying you’re a Christian when you still live very attached to the world with greed, pride and lust. Those are the 3 biggest excuses people give for not wanting to truly follow Jesus. If that’s you, then you’re a fake Christian. You can’t even be called a Christian. Period. Luke explains this in chapter 14…
One Sabbath day Jesus went to eat dinner in the home of a leader of the Pharisees, and the people were watching him closely. 2 There was a man there whose arms and legs were swollen.3 Jesus asked the Pharisees and experts in religious law, “Is it permitted in the law to heal people on the Sabbath day, or not?” 4 When they refused to answer, Jesus touched the sick man and healed him and sent him away. 5 Then he turned to them and said, “Which of you doesn’t work on the Sabbath? If your son or your cow falls into a pit, don’t you rush to get him out?” 6 Again they could not answer.
Don’t you just love how Jesus puts these Pharisees in their place? We should have that boldness.
Jesus Teaches about Humility
7 When Jesus noticed that all who had come to the dinner were trying to sit in the seats of honor near the head of the table, he gave them this advice: 8 “When you are invited to a wedding feast, don’t sit in the seat of honor. What if someone who is more distinguished than you has also been invited? 9 The host will come and say, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then you will be embarrassed, and you will have to take whatever seat is left at the foot of the table!
10 “Instead, take the lowest place at the foot of the table. Then when your host sees you, he will come and say, ‘Friend, we have a better place for you!’ Then you will be honored in front of all the other guests. 11 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
12 Then he turned to his host. “When you put on a luncheon or a banquet,” he said, “don’t invite your friends, brothers, relatives, and rich neighbors. For they will invite you back, and that will be your only reward. 13 Instead, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. 14 Then at the resurrection of the righteous, God will reward you for inviting those who could not repay you.”
This is a lesson in practical humility.
- Give up the best seat — or parking place, or place in line…. that’s humility
- Give up getting payback …. that’s generosity
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, my church was giving out food boxes. You didn’t get to pick the food. Hence, I got some things that I didn’t care for or couldn’t eat. I left the box at my neighbor’s door. I knew she had 2 kids and I wasn’t sure of her employment status.
A couple of days later, she responded with a box at my door. I really didn’t want anything in return. But she was one of those people who could not accept a gift without giving something back. We did this several times until the scarcity problem was over.
Parable of the Great Feast
15 Hearing this, a man sitting at the table with Jesus exclaimed, “What a blessing it will be to attend a banquet in the Kingdom of God!”
16 Jesus replied with this story: “A man prepared a great feast and sent out many invitations. 17 When the banquet was ready, he sent his servant to tell the guests, ‘Come, the banquet is ready.’ 18 But they all began making excuses. One said, ‘I have just bought a field and must inspect it. Please excuse me.’ 19 Another said, ‘I have just bought five pairs of oxen, and I want to try them out. Please excuse me.’ 20 Another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’
21 “The servant returned and told his master what they had said. His master was furious and said, ‘Go quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and invite the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’ 22 After the servant had done this, he reported, ‘There is still room for more.’ 23 So his master said, ‘Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come, so that the house will be full. 24 For none of those I first invited will get even the smallest taste of my banquet.’”
Here are the 3 excuses:
- The person who bought into the world and can’t let it go — that’s pride.
- Material possessions keep people out of heaven — that’s greed.
- Relationships — good or bad — that’s lust.
Related: What are the 7 Deadly Sins?
The Cost of Being a Disciple
25 A large crowd was following Jesus. He turned around and said to them, 26 “If you want to be my disciple, you must, by comparison, hate everyone else—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. 27 And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple.
28 “But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? 29 Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. 30 They would say, ‘There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’
31 “Or what king would go to war against another king without first sitting down with his counselors to discuss whether his army of 10,000 could defeat the 20,000 soldiers marching against him? 32 And if he can’t, he will send a delegation to discuss terms of peace while the enemy is still far away. 33 So you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own.
34 “Salt is good for seasoning. But if it loses its flavor, how do you make it salty again? 35 Flavorless salt is good neither for the soil nor for the manure pile. It is thrown away. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand!”Luke 14 NLT (bold emphasis mine)
Are You Listening?
More important — are you understanding?! Everyone is invited to Jesus’ feast in Heaven. Moreover, He will never force you. You have to come willingly.
However, you MUST give up your old life. Period! That’s what it means to totally surrender your life to Him. True repentance means acknowledging that you are a sinner and then, stop sinning! You can’t live with one foot in the Kingdom and one foot in the world. Believe me! I’ve tried it and it doesn’t work. (Check out my testimonies at the bottom.) Your life will be miserable. You won’t have the JOY that He talks about.
Jesus is knocking at the door to you heart.
Isn’t it time you let Him in?
- Part 1: From Catholicism to Prodigal
- Part 2: From Prodigal to a Progressive, Halfway Christian
- Part 3: From a Halfway Christian to a True, Born Again Believer and Follower of Jesus Christ
Soli Deo Gloria — To God Alone Be the Glory!