I have a good friend who has had many struggles. He has battled addiction and all kinds of temptations following a childhood of abuse. There has been divorce and hurt and loss of just about every kind. He has spent his adult life trying to put back together what was dismantled during his formative years.
There was a point several years ago that he was reaching out for counsel as he considered how to break free from his current situation. As we talked, he was contemplating the promise of Jesus to heal the broken-hearted and set the captive free. He was curious and tempted, but also wise in his question, which was “What does that cost?’
As I considered the question, it dawned on me that I had never fully considered it to the extent that this friend was asking. The depth of the answer which came out of my mouth was startling to me as I shared it with him. “Everything,” I said.
Following Jesus costs everything. This is an all-in proposition filled with all kinds of challenges in exchange for the benefit of carrying His glory. Being a disciple and making disciples requires a realization that Jesus calls us into a life filled with the following found as He sends out his disciples in Matthew 10:
- There is no promise of a big bank account (v. 9)
- You will be accused and persecuted (v. 17)
- Relationships will be strained if not fractured (v. 21)
- Others will hate you (v. 22)
- You will be maligned and ridiculed (v. 23)
- It costs your entire life (v. 38)
Part of the reason that the West struggles to see the move of God that is seen in other parts of the world is because of the comfort. From a place of comfort, there is no appetite for abandonment. There does not appear to be a need to be drastic when there is nothing drastic about our conditions.
Discipleship and disciple making tends to be conditional and measured because the context in the suburbs allow for it. This isn’t to say we need to sell everything and move to Africa, it is to say that the heart condition of a disciple is the same as it was when Jesus sent out the first twelve. It’s not about losing your stuff, it’s about being willing to.
The promises of Matthew 10 are plenty to overcome the challenges:
- Supernatural authority (v. 1)
- Supernatural peace (v. 11)
- Supernatural wisdom (v. 16)
- Supernatural favor (v. 20)
- Supernatural representation (v. 32)
- Supernatural life (v. 39)
- Supernatural rewards (v. 41)
So it’s a great, and somewhat intimidating, exchange. The apparent security and comfort of the natural for the abundant promises of the supernatural. It’s a move from the seen to the unseen. It’s a transition from temporal to eternal. It’s heaven on earth.