Deterrents of Discipleship
Then [Jesus] said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. Luke 9:23 NKJV
People are willing to pay a high price for something that they value. Well, Jesus demands the same commitment. There are three conditions necessary to follow Jesus: (1) to deny self; (2) to take up your cross; and, (3) follow Him. Without doubt, following Jesus requires sacrifice, selflessness, service, and surrender. This is what it will cost. Anything less is superficial lip service—talking the talk, but not walking the walk.
Many disciples have failed in their discipleship because they were deterred to continue following Jesus. A deterrence can be anything that prevents or discourages a believer from continuing to follow Christ—continuing in His Word (John 8:31-32). There are four deterrents to discipleship that speak loudly from the New Testament scriptures:
(1) Offense: the act of arousing anger, resentment, or vexation when the offended receives these acts as a personal attack. E.g., when Jesus taught in the synagogue that in order to receive eternal life, man had to eat His flesh and drink His blood. His disciples were offended by this hard truth, and “from this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him” (John 6:53-66). Like in Jesus’ ministry, the spirit of offense runs rampant in the church and believers who get offended, they too will become so discouraged they’ll stop following the Lord.
(2) Conflict and Disagreement, i.e., open opposition; a failure to be agreeable; sharp contentious arguing that cause hurt and much pain. Like in the case of Barnabas and Paul, because they vehemently disagreed about including John Mark on the missionary team. So, Barnabas separated from Paul; thus, leaving off to do the will of God in following Christ and the ministry given to them by the Holy Ghost(Acts 13:2, 13;15:36-40).
(3) Love of the World. Whenever there is a preoccupation with things in the
world system that appeal to the flesh, the eyes, and your pride, e.g., amusements, entertainment, recreation, etc. If your love and loyalty for these things precede your love of Christ, eventually you will be prevented or otherwise get discouraged in following Jesus Christ. Christ must reign in your heart—first! All other loves and loyalties must be secondary (2 Tim. 4:10; 2 Peter 2:20-22; 1 John 2:15-16).
(4) The Unseen–not seeing measurable results or visible manifestations can easily cause deep discouragement, especially with weak believers “straggling the line.” (see Heb. 11:6; 2 Cor. 5:7).
Making a commitment to pay the price to follow Christ is like making a promise or a vow (Eccl. 5:5). Make your commitment to Christ. Keep your eyes on the “prize” and let no one or nothing deter you from following Jesus Christ!