JOSHUA 14:8 – But my brothers who went up with me made the heart of the people melt; yet I wholly followed the Lord my God.
THEME OF THE DAY. CALEB-LIKE DISCIPLESHIP. In today’s scripture, there is insight of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. The story is a familiar one. God sent a “reconnaissance team” to spy out the land He promised to give His people. Yet, there was a problem. One group lacked full commitment. They professed to believe God, but when testing of their commitment came, they failed. They were not “all in.” Not so with Caleb. He proves to be “the real deal” as a true disciple of the Lord because he held nothing back. He wholly followed God.
As we think on what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, we must understand the bar is high. Jesus made it so and He doesn’t lower it. Here is what He said was the non-negotiable standard to be one of His followers, “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. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 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? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 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? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple’” (Luke 14:25-33). Let’s do something with the words Jesus spoke. Go back and look for the phrase “cannot be my disciple.” It is found three times. Its repetition by the Lord reveals the seriousness of what He is saying. Jesus is telling us, “Be Caleb-like, all in with Me, wholly follow me.” Our Lord never makes being His disciple easy. Oh, it cost us nothing to become a Christian, He paid the ultimate cost with His life, but it will cost us everything to be a Christian. And if that isn’t happening, it is right to go back to the foundation and see if our discipleship is real as defined by Jesus, and not by ourselves or modern Christian culture.
So with each reference Jesus makes of “cannot be my disciple”, let’s identify the three requirements He states to be His disciple. First, we cannot be Jesus’ disciple if we place human relationships, all human relationships, above Him – 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. He is not telling us to “hate” or lack love for our families. What He is saying is our families cannot be above Him or come before Him.
Next, we cannot be Jesus’ disciple if we are not willing to suffer for Him by a self-denying life – Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. It has been said, “No cross in this life, no crown in the next.” Friends, we must suffer for Christ. We must say “no” to the screams of comfort from our flesh and world. A non-suffering Christian doesn’t exist. Granted it will be different for each of us, but it will be present in all of us.
A third truth from Jesus about discipleship is that we cannot be His disciple if we are consumed with love for the world and the things of the world – any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple. If we give more of our resources of self, time, and money to the pleasures of the world than the purposes of the Word, we fail the test of discipleship. We cannot love the world and God. It is impossible (1 John 2:15-17). As hard as these truths are, let’s be encouraged. The same grace that enabled Caleb to wholly follow the Lord is the same grace available to us. Will we seize it by faith and be “all in” with Jesus – Caleb-like?
PRAYER: “Father, show me the beauty and satisfaction of following You with an undivided and whole heart.”
QUOTE: “God will not have half-hearted disciples of His Son. We are either all in with Jesus or not with Jesus”