The Cost of the Cross
By Nabil Khoury (CPC Mission Partner serving in Lebanon with the national church and International Messengers)
"27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. . . 33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple."
Luke 14:27, 33 (ESV)
It is not an exaggeration to say that the Lord Jesus demands absolute loyalty and obedience to Himself and His teachings. As His followers, we are exhorted to carry the cross as He did. We ought to always remind ourselves of the cost that we must pay to be His disciples. Our love for Him and our obedience to His commandments must be our priority (Mark 12:30, Matthew 10:37, and John 14:15).
What does it take to be a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ? According to the words of our Lord, it takes surrendering everything we have in this life. Everything means everything, and it includes our relationships, ambitions, and whatever material possessions we own. Nothing is off limits, and nothing should matter to us ahead of the Lord Himself.
In our ministry in Lebanon, my wife and I often see this level of commitment, especially in the lives of believers who come to Christ from Muslim backgrounds. We personally know several individuals and families in Lebanon and other Arab countries, who put their faith and trust in Jesus in spite of the high cost they had to pay. They became estranged from friends and family members. They suffered financially, as their jobs and their family inheritance were threatened or lost altogether.
Kareem and his wife, Amira (not their real names) came to know Christ, abandoning their Muslim faith. Their village in Lebanon embraces fundamentalism. When their position of following Jesus became public, they were disowned by their immediate families, as well as extended family and neighbors. They do not hear from them on holidays, birthdays, or special occasions. They are not welcome to visit, and their children do not know their grandparents, aunts, uncles, nor cousins. Their “family” now is the church (Matthew 19:29).
We continue to see Muslim believers in Jesus, like Kareem and Amira, who are worshipping and serving in our community of faith, risk losing everything for the sake of following Him. Their stories and testimonies are inspirational.
So, wherever we live in this fallen world, as followers of Jesus Christ, we need to ask ourselves: What is my faith in Jesus costing me? Is there anything in my life that takes priority over my love for Him, and my devotion and service to Him?
Let us encourage one another, as believers in the Lord of Lords and King of Kings, to lay ourselves and everything we hold dear, at His feet and at His service. Without any doubt, He deserves our all.