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I’m sure you would have had a variety of definitions in Jesus’ time as to what it meant to be a disciple. It’s still a very relevant question requiring repeated and fresh examination today. At one point in his ministry, Jesus turned to the many who were following him and challenged them to be his true disciples. He presented three very tough requirements in order to be a disciple who claims to be a follower of him.
In the 14th chapter of Luke’s Gospel, he records all three of these requirements. Here in this passage there are crowds of people who were following alongside Jesus for a variety of reasons and Jesus makes it perfectly clear what it takes to be his disciple.
Luke writes: Now as Jesus proceeded on his journey, great crowds accompanied him and he turned and spoke to them, “If anyone comes to me without setting aside his relationship with his father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be a disciple of mine.” (Luke 14:25-26)
Jesus declares the first prerequisite to be one of his disciples-the requirement of priority. He makes it tougher than just saying that he wants to be your best friend after your family members. He requires that you set aside your family members-father, mother, wife, children, brothers and sisters-to reduce in importance your family members in comparison with your relationship with Jesus. So, SECRET #27 is: The follower of Jesus sets aside all relationships to make Jesus his greatest priority.
He makes it even more personal, when he says to set aside “even your own life”. Jesus wants you to place him above all of your own self-interests. This is the area where we create many of our own little gods that we come to worship and put ahead of or equal to Jesus. You cannot be full of yourself and be acting as a disciple-a follower of Jesus. There is not enough room in your heart for that balancing act.
He says unless you put him up as the highest priority in your life-the highest position of authority, you cannot be my disciple. It’s not you cannot be a good disciple or one of the better disciples or a better than average disciple; it’s that you cannot be a disciple of Jesus at all. There is no wiggle room here.
So, do you want to be a disciple of Jesus? Then, you must make Jesus your number one, above all others, person you go to-the one you consult first and the one you imitate most. Jesus wants you to walk with him so closely that you don’t start your day, enter into a meeting, begin a conversation, respond to a crisis, react to an enemy or end your day without talking with him first. The requirement of priority! SECRET #27: The follower of Jesus sets aside all relationships to make Jesus his greatest priority. Will you take this challenge from Jesus and make him your priority, starting today?