The cost of discipleship

Why does Jesus say we must 'hate' our families and even ourselves? The expression 'to hate' often meant to 'prefer less'. Jesus used strong language to make clear that nothing should take precedence or first place over God. God our heavenly Father created us in his image and likeness to be his sons and daughters. He has put us first in his love and concern for our welfare. Our love for him is a response to his exceeding love for us. True love is costly because it is willing to sacrifice all for the sake of the beloved.
The cost of discipleship - Jesus willingly embraced the cross, not only out of obedience to his Father's will, but out of a merciful love for each one of us in order to set us free from sin, Satan, and death. Jesus knew that the cross was the Father's way for him to achieve victory and glory for our sake. He counted the cost and said 'yes' to his Father's will. We, too, must 'count the cost' and be ready to follow the Lord Jesus in the way of the cross if we want to share in his glory and victory.
What is the 'way of the cross' for you and me? It means that when my will crosses with God's will, then his will must be done. The way of the cross involves sacrifice, the sacrifice of laying down my life each and every day for Jesus' sake. What makes such sacrifice possible and "sweet" for us is the love of God poured out for us in the blood of Jesus Christ.
The wise plan ahead to avert failure and shame - What do the twin parables of the tower builder and a ruler on a war campaign have in common? Both men risk serious loss if they don't carefully plan ahead. In a shame and honour culture people want at all costs to avoid being mocked by their community for failing to complete a task which they have begun in earnest.
We must count the cost if we want to invest in God's kingdom - Jesus tells his would-be disciples that they, too, must count the cost if they want to succeed as his disciples. Jesus assures success for those willing to pay the price. All it cost is everything we have - the entirety of our lives and all we possess! What does Jesus have to offer that's worth giving up everything else? More than we can imagine! Jesus offers the gift of an abundant joy-filled life and the promise of everlasting peace and happiness with God for ever
Who do you love first - above all else?- The love of God compels us to choose who or what will be first in our lives. To place any relationship or any possession above God is a form of idolatry. Jesus challenges his disciples to examine what they love first and foremost. Jesus' way to glory and power is opposite the world's way of glory, power, and success. The choice is ours, but the Lord does not leave us alone if we choose to follow him.
"Lord Jesus, may your love transform me that I may truly desire nothing more than life with you. May you always be first in my thoughts and intentions, and in my words and actions."

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