Read Luke 14:25-35.
In Luke 14, Jesus has large crowds following Him—He often had large crowds following Him. Conventional wisdom would say, "Jesus, get them on Your good side first. Tell them what they want to hear. Jesus, tell them how wonderful they are. Tell them to name whatever they want and then claim it, and then whatever it is will be theirs." Or maybe we would advise Jesus, "Don't tell them the true cost of discipleship yet. Maybe start with a short Bible study first. Then, You can work Your way up to the difficult stuff." But Jesus does nothing of the sort.
Jesus made it absolutely clear there will be sacrifices to following Him.
With Jesus, there are no misleading subtleties. There is no fine print or sugar coating. He spells out exactly what it will cost to be His disciple: unfettered loyalty. He says that unless a person hates their own family—and even their own life—they cannot be His disciple (see Luke 14:26). Then He adds, "And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple" (v. 27). Jesus made it absolutely clear there will be sacrifices to following Him—at the heart of which is an undeterred commitment to Him.
You may be thinking, "But this sounds so harsh! Does Jesus really want me to hate my family?" Well, no, Jesus wants you to truly love your family with a selfless, divine love that can only come from a total commitment to the God who is love. To every would-be disciple, Jesus declares that any love that does not flow from loyalty to our Redeemer will be a possessive love, and if it is possessive, it will compete with Jesus for our affections. Not only this, but possessive love is selfish at best and cannot be eternal, while the love that comes from a life set free from sin and death by the blood of Christ is higher, deeper, and richer than we could possibly imagine.
The loyalty and commitment that true disciples have for their Savior compels them to exercise love like Christ, witness for Christ, claim Him boldly, and worship Him with every part of their lives—whether their money, time, energy, or lips. True disciples value intimacy with Jesus more than entertainment, prayer more than power, Truth more than earthly treasure, and surrender more than worldly success. Jesus is honest and clear when He calls His disciples to consider the cost of following Him, for a half-hearted commitment simply won't do.
Prayer: Lord, I have counted the cost and see that a life lived for You, in Truth and bearing the fruit of Your Spirit, is worth every hardship for Your name. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:26).