From Luke 14, with some thoughts:
Now as Jesus proceeded on his journey, great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and spoke to them, “If anyone comes to me without ‘hating’ his father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be a disciple of mine…” In Acts 13:3 in the NIV, we read, “So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on [Saul and Barnabas] and sent them off,” while, in the Phillips’, it reads, “At this, after further fasting and prayer, they laid their hands on them and set them free for this work.” It’s the different parsings of ἀπέλυσαν that leads to “sent them off” versus “set them free…” But where it gets really interesting is in one of the other meanings of that particular Greek word: “to divorce.” The Way of Jesus will always be a way filled with personal partings…
“The man who will not take up his cross and follow in my footsteps cannot be my disciple.” This isn’t some nebulous statement that we’re not meant to comprehend. Jesus not only went to the Cross to set us free from the condemnation of sin, His whole life was one of cross-bearing as He battled the power of sin. The Cross must always define our justification and sanctification. His wholly sanctified life is coursing through your veins right now…
“If any of you wanted to build a tower, wouldn’t he first sit down and work out the cost of it, to see if he can afford to finish it? Otherwise, when he has laid the foundation and found himself unable to complete the building, everyone who sees it will begin to jeer at him, saying, ‘This is the man who started to build a tower but couldn’t finish it!’
“Or, suppose there is a king who is going to war with another king, doesn’t he sit down first and consider whether he can engage the twenty thousand of the other king with his own ten thousand? And if he decides he can’t, then, while the other king is still a long way off, he sends messengers to him to ask for conditions of peace. So it is with you; only the man who says goodbye to all his possessions can be my disciple.” And there’s just one discipline that’ll enable us to rise to that level of belief: a complete pursuit of understanding just how very good He is!
May that be the entirety of our day today.