It has never been completely easy to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. To be such is to be out of step with the rest of the world around you.
At certain times and in certain places, it is costly to the point of losing one’s life. Actually, this time in history is among the most severe in terms of persecution and martyrdom for the Christian faith. It is a rather daily event around the world.
At the same time, living in America has been likely the least dangerous place for Christians in the history of the church. The historic exceptionalism that marked the foundations and principles of this country have made it to be so, by God’s grace and for his glory.
Yet times are changing. There is a growing effort to not only reject the gospel message, but to also marginalize it as a heinous sort of intolerable intolerance. There is an effort in our culture to re-define the new normal. The new normal is that there is no objective truth, other than that it is certain that those who believe in objective truth and traditional Christian values are the freaks of society because they do not support the acceptance of “anything goes.”
Where is this heading? We don’t know for sure, but it is certain that these current times are more perilous than any other time any of us can remember. There are surely more difficult days ahead. It is going to be more difficult to stand for truth and live for God. Are you ready for that? Will you have your family ready for that? Are you/they counting the cost of discipleship?
Jesus said in our passage for examination … in Luke 14:
25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 “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. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? 29 For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, 30 saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’
31 “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32 If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. 33 In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.
Are you ready to count the cost? Can you give up everything?
Here is the final question for pondering / discussion – Week 2, Question 4 – Do you have any doubt that our culture, along with geo-political events, is all turning against Christian faith; and does this challenge your imagination as to what you, or your immediate generations following you may well face in terms of persecution?