What are you willing to give up in order to be Christ's disciple? What are you unwilling to give up? Are you putting anything in your life ahead of God? Jesus gave some powerful advice to a rich young ruler. Does that advice apply to you?
Do you have what it takes to be a Christian? Are you sure? According to Jesus Christ Himself, being a Christian is not as easy as some would have you believe.
A rich, young ruler asked Jesus: "What good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life." Jesus' response was direct and to the point, telling him to "keep the commandments" (Matthew 19:16–17).
The young man then asked Him "which ones" he should keep. "Jesus said 'You shall not murder', 'You shall not commit adultery', 'You shall not steal', 'You shall not bear false witness', 'Honor your father and mother' and 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself'" (vv. 18–19). Jesus was describing God's law of love: the Ten Commandments.
Jesus then showed the young man that he still had a false god in his life: "If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me" (v. 21). By doing that one "good thing," the rich young ruler could have put to death his false god, and truly started to keep the commandments. But he was unwilling to do so, and he went away.
What would you have done if you were in the shoes of that young ruler? What would you have been willing to give up? More importantly, what are you today willing to give up in order to be Christ's disciple? Or, to look at it from another angle, what are you unwilling to give up? Are you putting anything in your life ahead of God?
Jesus said: "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate [love less, by comparison] his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple" (Luke 14:26).
Yes, being Christ's disciple can put you at odds with your family and the world. You may not realize that what most people call "Christianity" is far removed from the Christianity of the Bible. As the noted philosopher Soren Kierkegaard once said: "The Christianity of the New Testament simply does not exist. Millions of people through the centuries have little by little cheated God out of Christianity and have succeeded in making Christianity exactly the opposite of what it is in the New Testament."
Over the centuries, by one little change after another, people have replaced the Christianity of the Bible with a religion that contradicts much of what the Savior taught. Jesus said "Do not think that I came to destroy the law or the prophets," (Matthew 9:17), but many today say that Jesus did away with His Father's burdensome commandments, replacing them with love. Yet the Bible says: "By this we know that we love the children of God when we love God and keep His commandments, for this is the love of God that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome" (1 John 5:2–3).
Kierkegaard was wrong, though. The Christianity of the New Testament does still exist. But, it will not be found among the world's large and popular denominations. There are still people who are actively living the Christianity of Christ and the Apostles. They do not walk in lockstep with this world's "Christianity." They look to the Bible—the inspired Word of God—to learn and to live by the doctrines and practices handed down by Christ and the Apostles.. Do you, as they did, have what it takes to put Jesus Christ first, even if this puts you at odds with the world? Do you have what it takes to be a true Christian?