Sammy, a young asylum seeker from a Muslim nation shared our family Christmas. His testimony was amazing. Two years ago at the age of 17 he was truly saved as Jesus revealed Himself to this young man. Two weeks later Sammy was secretly baptised and joined a small group of believers. The young man’s family discovered a Bible in his room and threatened to kill him unless he renounced his newly-found faith. The only option was to escape for his life and he finally arrived in England. On meeting a group of people of his own nationality, Sammy had a courageous desire to share Jesus with his fellow countrymen here. They tried to murder him and he finished up in hospital needing over 100 stitches.
Sammy is now 19. At a preliminary hearing for asylum in this country his lawyer asked him what he would do if he was sent back to his own country. He said he could not keep Jesus a secret in his heart, for if he disowned Jesus, Jesus would disown him. There is no doubt what this testimony would cost Sammy if asylum is not given. In effect he is willing to die rather than deny Jesus.
Jesus is very clear about being a disciple of His in the verses above. The words are radical. Love and hatred are biblical ways of expressing preference. To ‘hate’ means to ‘love less’, not ‘dislike’. Crowds followed Jesus but very few of the followers chose discipleship. Jesus said to the crowd following Him, possibly for healing, that it’s impossible to be His disciple unless we let Him take first place in our heart.
When referring to the difficulties in life people often mistakenly say, “It’s my cross.” To take up one’s cross means something entirely different. It simply means to uncompromisingly obey Jesus Christ as Lord and follow Him whatever it may cost. Discipleship demands readiness to place the claims of Jesus above those of family, friends and self. In some countries the cost is physical death. For most of us in the west it means a daily dying to self and the selfish desires of our old nature.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for all the Lord Jesus did for me when He died and rose again. In response to Your great love help me today to live as a disciple. Help me to choose the way of the cross and live my life in obedience to You whatever that may cost in my circumstances. Help me to own You before in a world that has little time for You. Make me Your witness through the power of the Holy Spirit living within me. Amen.