November 14 – Tuesday of the Twenty-sixth Week after Pentecost (9th of Luke) Luke 14:25-35
Counting the Cost: Luke 14:25-35, especially vs. 33: “So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.” We would do well, when reading this passage, to recall our baptismal profession of Christ as King and God. Satan constantly seeks to entice us away from the Lord by dazzling us with earthly joys, pleasures, and dreams. But this is not so with Christ our God. From the moment we join ourselves to Him, He tells us we must prefer Him even to our own families – wives, husbands, children – and to every earthly joy.
Indeed, He says bluntly, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple” (vs. 26). How do we understand such strong language?
Our Lord is concerned here with our priorities – where we choose to place on our affections. He surely expects us to love and give ourselves to our families before others. Christ’s call to follow Him, however, is of a different order. It calls us to go into combat, where we are willing to accept deadly risks on behalf of our loved ones.
The way of the Lord is called the “unseen warfare” because it is a battle with spiritual dimensions. It takes place in that realm where we express our affections of heart and soul. It all comes down to our preferences. Do we value things that concern the body more than matters of the soul and heart? We must sometimes choose between our natural affections and our overarching commitment to be “members and partakers of the death and Resurrection of Christ our God.”
The Lord Jesus is no deceiver; He tells us the truth. “Whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple” (vs. 27). We must be prepared for the possibility that we may be asked to confront or forsake family, loved ones, and even children for Christ’s sake.
As disciples, we walk along the same via dolorosa which the Lord Jesus followed to Golgotha and the Crucifixion. Family and friends may not go the distance with us when we face a painful choice between the priorities of this world and following the Savior.
The Lord Jesus does not play with us, nor does He entice us to make certain choices. He makes clear what can befall us if we continue to follow Him. It is wise for us to count the cost of discipleship, for He must come first. This is why the Lord sternly cautions us, lest we make an impulsive decision based merely on our attraction to Him.
Many Christians open their hearts and lives to the Lord. Many saints know the pain of preferring the Savior above all others. Yet still they encourage us to place Him first, “forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead [so that] we press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil 3:13-14).
When we take the awesome step of uniting ourselves to Christ, we must place our choices to be weighed in a balance. Let us consider what the world offers in light of Christ’s promises and gifts. He laid down His life for us, and He calls us His own.
Our enemies never rest in their opposition and yet, according to Saint John the Theologian, “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 Jn 4:4). Let us be encouraged in our struggles! The most wrenching choices in life may or may not come upon us. However, we are forewarned – let us always be ready to place the Lord Jesus first at all times.
O Christ our God, we who have put Thee on, beseech Thee, keep us ever warriors invincible in every attack of those who assail us and make us all victors even unto the end. – Chrismation Prayer