When I compare what I see in many Americans Christian, with other Christians in persecuted nations, I begin to realize that more often than not, those in persecuted nations have something we lack. Now, it’s not our fault that we lack what they have, and I won’t suppose that every western believer suffers from this. But from what I experience in my own little world, I think we do lack this specific thing. And this one thing that I’m referring to is any dedication to becoming true disciples of Jesus. I should preface that statement by sharing these two verses from Luke chapter 14. In verse 26 Jesus says:
"If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters – yes, even his own life – he cannot be my disciple."
Then in verse 33 it says:
"In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple."
You see, unlike our persecuted brothers and sisters, many of us have never been tested as to whether we would “give up everything for the gospel” as Jesus outlines. When we count the cost of being a Christian it usually doesn’t involve giving up our relationship with our families or even giving up anything substantial. Again, it isn’t our fault that we aren’t put to the test, it is actually a blessing. But I would challenge you to really evaluate your dedication to Christ. Would you go so far as to give up your family to be his disciple? Would you give everything to follow him? If you’re not sure, then I would suggest that you haven’t counted the costs. Jesus warns us about being lukewarm for him. He says that he’d rather us be hot or even cold. How hot are you for him? The answer to that question will help you know if you’ve really counted the cost of following him.
Jesus tells us that when we make the decision to become a Christian, we need to count the cost of what that decision entails. Those in persecuted nations realize that cost right when the accept him. Many of us in America don’t realize the cost until some form of persecution comes our way – and in many cases, it never does. But even still, we have to be hot of Christ, or as I like to call it “hardcore” about our faith. We should be all the way in or totally out; or hot or cold as the bible describes. I challenge you to evaluate whether you’ve actually counted the cost of following Christ. It is better to find out now, than when your faith is put to the test.