Luke 14: 25-35
25 A large crowd was following Jesus. He turned around and said to them,26 “If you want to be my disciple, you must, by comparison, hate everyone else—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. 27 And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple.
28 “But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? 29 Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. 30 They would say, ‘There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’
IF I want to be a disciple of Jesus…THEN I must essentially hate everyone (including myself).
That doesn’t sound like the bible at all, does it? How many sermon series are centered around this passage of scripture? How often is it shared and liked on social media? Regardless, it is written, in redlettering. There is a cost that is required to follow Him. There is a cost and a cross.
It’s our choice, however.
I’m currently in a “then” season.
I answered another “if” question 7 years ago. The Lord spoke to me in the secret place: “I’m removing your tent pegs….and sending you to a new land (Florida).” (read about it here: https://deepintothewater.com/2020/11/18/uprooting/) I must admit, I didn’t respond with great faith in the beginning, as Mary did when the angel told her she would conceive the Savior of the world by the power of the Spirit. Instead, I asked a slew of questions,
“What about my husband?
What about our kids?
What about our family?
What about our house?”
Still, the Lord was gracious. He gave me the gift of time and testing to build my faith. He gave me the gift of time and testing to count the cost. He gave me the gift of time and testing to face my fear of man. He gave me the gift of time and testing to confront the lies of the enemy. He gave me the gift of time and testing to receive the Father’s perfect love. He gave me the gift of time and testing to obey the Lord. He gave me the gift of time and testing to follow His Spirit.
IF I wanted to be a disciple…THEN I had to count the cost of my relationships:
- My husband initially rejected God’s call to go (which felt like personal rejection).
- Our children initially rejected God’s call to go (ditto to the above).
- Our family & friends initially rejected God’s call to go (ditto, again).
IF I wanted to be a disciple…THEN I had to pick up my cross:
- We closed the ministry we planted and pioneered for more than a decade.
IF I want to be a disciple…THEN I have to follow Him to Florida:
- I have to leave my friends and family.
- I have to leave the house we’ve poured blood, sweat and tears in to remodel.
- I have to leave some of our possessions.
The cost, however, pales in comparison to the reward of knowing the One who has called me by name. To the One who ran out to meet me when I came home to Him. To the One who healed and delivered me from sin. To the One who filled me with Himself.
There must be a call.
There must be a cost.
There must be a cross.
IF we leave everything….AND follow Him, we will see His plan, His promise, and His provision fulfilled in our lives. I’m living proof of it, my friend! His Word has NOT returned void. He said He would take care of all these things to fulfill His promise, including answering my prayer to sell our house, supernaturally.
“Lord, would you pleeeeeease just send someone over to buy our house?”
Our next-door neighbor referred her sisters family.
They came over, walked through, sat and talked with us …and later made an offer.
The rest, as they say, is history.
He’s calling you, my friend. Can you hear Him? He wants an intimate, deep, abiding relationship with you. THAT is the ONE THING He is after: your heart. Do you know Him? Does He know you? IF you want to be His disciple…THEN you must consider the cost to leave your family, your nets, your boats and follow Him.
Trust me, HE is worth it!
18 One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers—Simon, also called Peter, and Andrew—throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. 19 Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” 20 And they left their nets at once and followed him.
21 A little farther up the shore he saw two other brothers, James and John, sitting in a boat with their father, Zebedee, repairing their nets. And he called them to come, too. 22 They immediately followed him, leaving the boat and their father behind.
1 Corinthians 13
13 If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. 3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it;[a] but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.
4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
8 Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages[b] and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! 9 Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! 10 But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless.
11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 12 Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.[c] All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.
13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.
Amidst the ongoing political chaos, I recently got sucked into the vortex of fear that invaded the body of Christ. As I continued hearing and reading the urgent messages by the right, left and middle that consumed the media, I began being tossed to and fro on the waves of public opinion.
I pulled up my anchor.
I stopped going off to a quiet place EVERY DAY to pray. Instead of picking up the Word, I picked up my iPad to read the words of others. I wanted to be informed. I wanted to be prepared for what might or might not happen. I wanted all knowledge of good and evil! I wanted to be. Like. God.
Thankfully, the Spirit within me interrupted the noise of the storm one morning and whispered 1 Corinthians 13 to my soul. I turned off the world and tuned into heaven. When I looked at the One sitting on the throne I realized that my focus had shifted to the words of prophetic people, Trump and Biden, Republican and Democrat. As a result of eating that fruit, I found myself naked and afraid- hiding from God.
But…..He is faithful. He never grows weary of calling out to me, “Jodie, where are you?!”
Once again, His Word anchored my soul. His Word washed me in His love. His Word corrected and rebuked me. His Word cast out fear. And His Word beckoned me to love- regardless of church doctrine, regardless of political affiliation, regardless of who was right or wrong. I found it interesting as I re-read the overly familiar passage (1 Corinthians 13), that Paul seemed to divert from his love message to the church in Corinth by mentioning his childhood.
Perhaps he was saying that spiritual maturity does not equal soul maturity.
Spiritual maturity (gifts):
Speaking in tongues
Praying in tongues
Words of knowledge
Soul maturity (fruit):
Not record keeping
Not rejoicing in injustice
Never gives up
Never loses faith
I’ve been saved and following the Lord for more than 20 years. I’ve grown in spiritual maturity; knowledge of the Word, prophesy, praying in tongues, giving and serving others, and interpreting Gods secrets revealed through dreams.
But in areas of my heart- my soul, I’m still a little girl. In immature little girl. I often think like an 8-year-old. I often reason like a 4-year-old. I haven’t put away all my childish things. Case in point: when the arrows of pain and pressure penetrate my heart, I sometimes react in outbursts of anger. Like a volcano, I erupt violently, spewing hot lava all over the people I’m supposed to love. Like a child, I basically throw a massive temper tantrum.
As I’ve listened to and read other believers words, posts and comments on social media I see that I am not alone in my immaturity. The body of Christ has many infants and toddlers who refuse to grow up. Instead, we’re content to remain in adolescence for decades. Instead of crucifying our flesh, we continue to operate out of our anointing without operating out of the Fathers heart. Instead of repenting for our childish ways, we decree and declare and demand our own way. We have been nosy gongs and clanging cymbals during this election. It grieves the Lord. And it should grieve us.
I don’t understand His ways, but I believe the Commander of Heavens armies is sovereign over the Commander in Chief of America. I don’t understand His ways, but I believe the Spirit is saying to the churches in this hour, “it’s time to grow up in love.” I don’t understand His ways, but I believe God is calling those of us who’ve been prodigals to come home. He’s causing those of us who’ve been stuck in the pig muck of society to come to our senses. He is running out to meet those of us who’ve spent our inheritance on the Great Prostitute. He’s putting a ring and a robe on those of us who’ve lived as orphans. He’s welcoming us as sons and daughters back into His house. He’s teaching us how to pray. He’s training us to love, as He first loved us.
My brother, my sister, I humbly ask you to take a moment. Leave the worlds playground and go off to a quiet place to pray. Allow the Spirit to search your heart. Ask the Lord, “what are the areas of immaturity in my soul?” Confess your childish ways. Repent for your temper tantrums. Receive His love, and return His love by obeying His commands.
The world is watching and waiting for us to prove that we are His disciples.
35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
15 “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.
Today is the official dissolution date of the ministry we planted exactly 10 years ago. There are several reasons why God required us to close, but at the moment, only one matters: “He cuts every branch that doesn’t produce fruit.” Yes, through the years, I believe much fruit grew through the work of the ministry. Individuals, couples, children and multiple generations of families encountered the Lord, and were transformed. Hallelujah! However, in recent months, the Spirit had been revealing through Scripture, prayer, dreams (mine and others) that I had wandered down a path He did not send me. I had rebelled against His leadership. As a result, I had abandoned my first love: Jesus.
The result? Fruitlessness in that area of my life.
I may have turned away from the Son of Man, but He never left me. He has been interceding at the right hand of the Father all along. He has been praying that my faith would not fail as the enemy was granted permission to sift me like wheat. And in His timing, I was able to hear the sound of the rooster crowing in my Spirit- bringing conviction of sin. Like Peter, at the realization of my denial, I wept bitterly.
Repentance is a painfully beautiful gift in our relationship with the Lord. It’s an acknowledgement of the death we’ve been living under, which releases deep sorrow. It’s also a realization of the resurrection life that we have returned to, which brings great joy!
Repentance causes us to realize: He cuts us because He loves us.
A branch has been severed in me. Amen! It is gone. Gone but not forgotten. It is forgiven. Forgiven but not hidden. For it serves as a reminder of the blood that covers all my sin, cleansing me of all unrighteousness, connecting me to the vine which produces much fruit, bringing glory to the Father!
5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.6 Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. 7 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! 8 When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.