The conditions that are clearly set for considering yourself a disciple can be found in Luke 14:26-27. Here you have the entrance exam and the application procedure all in one. No better application is required of anyone.
“If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me, cannot be My disciple.” Luke 14:26-27.
Led according to God’s will
The “hatred” for family members, and for one’s own life, is not intended as a hatred for the individuals. It means that one who is a disciple is not bound by human advice, reasoning, opinions, and influence. They will only be led in the footsteps of their Master. If that means going against their nearest and dearest, and especially against their own will and opinions, then they will gladly do that for the sake of following where their Master leads them. This can bring reproach and conflict and separation from those who do not have the same mind, but liberated from all consideration of themselves and other people, they become one with Christ. However, this very thing also leads to fellowship, encouragement, and edification between the disciple and all others who have the same goal!
Jesus says, “and his own life also.” Your “own life” in this context is your own will, your opinions, your human reactions. Becoming offended, angry, discouraged, impatient, showing partiality or giving in to impurity or pride – all these are manifestations of your “own life.” As a disciple, you must relinquish full control of your life to Him, and walk in obedience on the way that He wants to steer you. This means giving up your will, or being a slave of your natural reactions. It would be sheer foolishness to choose another way than what God has planned and think that it will go well. His plan is to give you life in abundance!
This also includes your relationships with parents, partners, children, possessions, and your future in this world. All these must be in accordance with Christ’s teachings, and you can rest assured that this will be the best both for yourself and for those around you.
Counting the cost
Having Christianity as a secondary thing in your life is a contradiction in terms. Christianity must be our life. Being a Christian means having Christ’s will and His way alone as a guide and a plumb line in relationship to everything in our lives. We have nothing that is outside of Him.
“For which of you, intending to build a house, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it?” Luke 14:28.
Everyone who wishes to become a disciple must first sit down and count the cost. Are you willing to give up absolutely everything you have in this world in order to follow wherever Christ leads you? Are you prepared to be blindly obedient, even when you don’t understand the direction that you are being led in? Are you willing to give up on your own ideas, opinions, will, and whatever else may be required in order to become one with Christ?
A disciple life is open for those who answer a whole-hearted “Yes!”