“Cannot” does not mean the same as “may not”. If my child comes to me and asks for candy instead of dinner, I respond “You may not”. If my child comes to me and asks to turn into the moon, I respond “You cannot”, it is physically impossible.
So with this established I want to point out and perhaps I’ll write more later, about the Lordship of Jesus Christ. My intention is to alert people to something that should deeply trouble us all in regards to “being a Christian”.
First, considering the day and age in which we live, I would like to address a name that is used regularly in many circles today. “Christian” is a word that means Christ One. It is a word that once held significant meaning, yet today it means very little. Ask 100 people what “Christian” means and you will get many different answers. This reminds me of the saying “when the tide is low, every shrimp has it’s own pool.” So many people are so excited about their little pool, and occasionally, another shrimp will join in their festive splashing. Such happy little shrimp.
Nearly everyone refers to themselves as “Christian”. Those who claim to follow all ten commandments do it. People who never go to church do it. People who go to church on Easter and Christmas do it. People who never miss a church service do it. People who will only attend churches of a certain denomination do it. People who say they haven’t sinned in 26 years do it. All shapes and sizes and creeds and sexual orientations do it. We’re all freakin’ Christians! Fortunately though, we aren’t the ones who determine who is a Christian, and who is not.
I’m thinking of this guy who lived a while back who was pretty much a big deal. Oh ya, Jesus is who I’m thinking of. Pretty much a hardcore kind of guy. Didn’t own a home, not even a tent. Made stuff out of wood. Pulled together twelve nobodies and changed the world as we know it.
Lot’s and lot’s of people are excited about Jesus. Sure there’s a bunch of people who aren’t so excited, but perhaps that’s because they know more about what he said than those who are excited??? Probably not, but it’s fun to think that way. So people are excited about Jesus because he forgives sin like when you not only fantasized about sex with somebody other than your spouse (which is sin), but actually did it, last night. Now you’re thinking about it all the time (sin) and when your next little horizontal bop can happen again. And Jesus forgives sin like cheating on taxes and yelling “Jesus Christ” when your sports team sucks. People are so in love with Jesus because you got wasted at the bar and couldn’t keep your pants on. Jesus is so cool because he forgives and forgives and forgives and we can go to heaven. Yay, Jesus!
Luke 14:25-33 Jesus uses the word “cannot”. He uses the word in his definition of who can and cannot be his follower (remember that cool word we all use “Christian”). He says you cannot be his follower if you aren’t interested in losing everything in life that you hold on to. Not your mom or pops, your kids, siblings, degree, job or anything else. As a matter of fact, you must even “hate your own life” if you are a follower of Jesus.
Becoming a follower of Jesus doesn’t mean you say some little prayer and BAM! you’re in there like swimwear. To be honest, there’s no indication that you even say a prayer to become a follower of his. You just do it. You turn your back on your life that you’ve jacked up already (repent) and look to Jesus as your only hope. In the passage I mentioned, you count the cost. Look at the fact that following Jesus means that you hold on loosely to everything. It’s not yours anyways, so why hold on to it? The passage states that people who do not count the cost and then get in over their heads are laughed at. Christians have become the laughing stock of our culture and it’s not because of Jesus. It’s because most of them are half-hearted pansies who try to keep a tight little grip on the things of this world. When those things are taken away, they cry like an infant who’s had their rattle removed from their chubby little hands. Spoiled babies now fill church buildings, not warriors of the faith. Sadly, they still attend churches because cheap grace is spoken there. Itching ears get scratched and we feel good about it.