"Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 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. In the same way, any of you does not give up everything cannot be my disciple"
To often when I read this passage I focused attention on the last sentence - and winced. I knew it! I was right. God is a killjoy.
God wants everything I have...just because. How I came to this misunderstanding of Him isn't clear. So zeroed in on my erroneous picture of his character and nature, I missed the whole point that Jesus made.
In a conflict with a superior opponent, unless one has a death wish, the wise recourse is to negotiate a settlement that leaves one's head on one's shoulders. Not having to waste time, energy, manpower and resources, the adversary is more inclined to deal kindly, even generously with an opponent. Military leaders know this and do it all the time. If they can't win the battle its more profitable to lay down arms and surrender.
Jesus tells us that opposing God is pointless. We're hopelessly outmanned by Him alone. We are at the disadvantage no matter what angle we view our situation from. Furthermore, there's no need for war. He laid out the plan of salvation before we were even created and believed there was a conflict. We can refuse His terms of surrender, but that a fool's errand. We'll lose everything.
"But," you protest, "Jesus did say that in order to be a disciple it will cost me everything! I lose no matter how you look at it." Yes and no. Define everything.
I still grapple with my old mindset that God gets giddy when He can take my stuff. Why He would want, for example, my collection of Taco Bell Dinky Chihuahuas is one of those great mysteries of life (just kidding). Part of me usually holds back. I can say that I hold everything in the open palm of my hand and not in a clenched fist. However, I repeatedly fight the urge to close my hand and hang on tight.
Sell all to follow Him? I've done that before and it worked out marvelously. Harder to relinquish are my ideas of what He's like and how He should act. These keep me clutching on to my life and not lay it down. And I have bunches of them.
If God would rearrange my mental faculties automatically, things would be simpler. If He'd cut out the "stinkin' thinkin'" portion of my brain and replace it with the mind of Christ I'd be golden. Of course He have to chuck out what I have now and give me a whole new mass of grey matter.
Discipleship at times may require material sacrifices, but I doubt in God's grand scheme that's what's important. He's more concerned about the condition of my heart than my bank account.
How about you? Have you recognized and accepted the truth that Jesus is already Lord and not when surrendered to Him? If not, you're up against impossible odds. Fortunately, He's not hostile nor bent on your destruction. How can you realistically resist unconditional love and succeed?
If you have surrendered, but struggle with your interpretation of the peace treaty's terms that require your all as I do, don't live in doubt and fear. Talk with Him, One-on-one, Face to face about it. You'll like what you hear.