The Lord told us to make disciples (and not mere converts) in every nation (Matt.28:19). He also told us what He meant by the word "disciple" in Luke 14:26-33. So, if we do not make the three conditions of discipleship (that Jesus taught) clear to people in our preaching, they will never become disciples.
Jesus said, "If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple" (Lk.14:26).
Jesus used strong words when He spoke about discipleship. He told us to hate our family members and to hate even our own life. He also told us elsewhere to hate money, to despise money, to pluck out our right eye, to cut off our right hand and to eat His flesh and drink His blood. His words were "spirit and life" (Jn.6:63) - but many of His disciples were carnally minded and misunderstood Him and stumbled over His words. They got offended and left Him (Jn.6:60,66) . Many leave Jesus today also, for the same reason.
What did Jesus mean by asking us to hate our father and mother and our children. The meaning becomes clear when we compare His words here with His words in Matthew 10:37. There He said the same thing in slightly different words: "He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me". So what Jesus meant by the word "hate" was that we must love Him supremely - more than all our family members. In other words, in the light of our love for Him, all our love for others must fade - like the light of the stars disappear when the sun rises!
This is also what Jesus meant when He told us to hate money and despise earthly wealth (Mammon)(Luke 16:13). We are to love Him more than all earthly wealth. We can earn money, but we must not love it.
2. Put To Death
Jesus said, "Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple"(Lk.14:27).
The cross has become a dignified symbol in our day. And so we fail to understand the meaning of Jesus' words here. In His day however, the cross was an instrument of shame and death - on which the worst of criminals were crucified. It is the equivalent of being hanged, today. So what Jesus was saying here was that we should "go and hang ourselves every day"! Strong words again! What He meant was that we were to put SELF to death every day, if we wanted to follow Him. It is impossible for us to be His disciples if we seek to please our SELF or if we want to do our own will. SELF must be put to death every day(Gal.5:24).
3. Give Up Everything
Jesus said, "None of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions"(Lk.14:33).
Jesus was referring to our possessions here - and not to what we have. When we possess earthly things (that is, whatever we value highly and hold on to tightly) those things will possess us too - and we will become their slaves.
Everything on this earth - house, money, property, car, gold, silver, or whatever - belongs to the Lord (as stated in1 Cor.10:26). This is a very clear statement of ownership. So whatever we have of this world's goods has only been loaned to us by God for a short period. Jesus wants us to recognize that we are only stewards. But very few have recognized this. And that is why they do not become disciples of Jesus.
Only one who fulfils these three conditions of discipleship can live the type of life described in the New Testament - a life full of love(Rom.5:5), constant rejoicing(Phil.4:4), freedom from anxiety(Phil.4:6) and perpetual victory(2 Cor.2:14). Those who are not disciples however, will only keep on stating that such a life is impossible on this earth. But praise God that there are a few glorious disciples who are manifesting such a life today. Praise the Lord!
The Lord is inviting you also to live such a life from today.