Commitment and leaving behind
Jesus is telling us that every fiber of our being, every facet of our lives must be committed to loving and serving God. This means that we must hold nothing back from Him because God holds nothing back from us (John 3:16). Furthermore, Jesus tells us that our commitment to Him must supersede our commitment to even our families: If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple (Luke 14:26-27). Such commitment means our family relationships may be severed. It means our commitment to Christ demands, if given an “either/or” situation, we turn away from them and continue with Jesus (Luke 12:51-53). Followers of Jesus, such as fisherman Simon (later called Peter), obeyed the Lord. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him (Luke 5:10). The bottom line is that those who cannot make that kind of commitment cannot be His disciple.
Obedience and Persecution
Jesus is warning us in advance. The reason for such commitment and loyalty is that the trials we may have to endure will be quite demanding; our allegiance to Him at times may be arduous (John 15:18). Jesus alerted His disciples: Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also (John 15:20). The apostle Paul echoed His warning: In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted (2 Timothy 3:12). The first Christians experienced persecution (Acts 4:23-31).
Selflessness is costly
Jesus has made plain the cost of discipleship: Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it (Luke 9:23-24). The true cost of commitment to Christ is one’s total self-denial, cross-bearing, and the continual following of Him. These imperatives picture for us sacrifice, selflessness, and service. A cross epitomized ultimate punishment and humiliation (Galatians 3:13). More than that, it fully demonstrated the love of God (Romans 5:8)—selfless and sacrificial in the giving of His life for the world (Matthew 20:28).
Fruitfulness and service
Paul followed the Lord’s example of commitment in sacrifice and service. Paul said: I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me (Galatians 2:20). Total commitment to God means that Jesus is our sole authority, our guiding light, and our unerring compass. Being committed to Christ means being fruitful; it means being a servant. Paul says: For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain (Philippians 1:21).
References: Gotquestions.org, M28global.org (Global Discipleship)