Is Spiritual Discipleship Necessary?

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”—Matthew 10:37 (NKJV)

“Ouch!” That’s the word that came to mind when I first read the above proclamation by Jesus. “Nobody is worthy of You if they happen to love their parents or children more than You? That’s a bit harsh, don’t you think?” After all, it seems like such a contradiction to the default image most of us have of Jesus. He’s meek and mild; gentle and kind; patient and long-suffering. So where does such a strong statement come from?

It comes from the fact that Jesus is not only perfect in love, but in truth, as well. He never compromises or comes short in sharing the truth. And when it comes to the truth of discipleship, He knows that total commitment is required, which is basically what He’s saying here.

This isn’t about loving others less, it’s about loving Him more. It’s a matter of relational priorities, of which Jesus must be at the very top. A disciple of Jesus must seek, love, and obey Him above all others, including parents, children, spouses, etc.

Discipleship is about total commitment, a kind of commitment that goes deeper than our closest relationships. It must even surpass our love for ourselves! Watch how Jesus goes on to expand on this: “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matthew 10:38–39 NKJV).

Did you catch that? Being a disciple requires a cross . . . it requires a commitment to die to our own will and agenda in life! Our commitment to Christ must be prioritized even above us. It has to be, because something in life will eventually compete for our allegiance to Jesus. And when it does, our commitment will be revealed; whether to the Lord and what He wants or to what we want.

This kind of commitment isn’t easy or common; that’s what makes it so very valuable. But notice the promise Jesus attaches to it. Those who completely commit (or lose) their lives to Him will discover (or find) a way of life infinitely greater than anything they could have attained otherwise.     

Spiritual discipleship doesn’t happen apart from complete commitment . . . apart from putting Jesus first. So, how committed are you?

DIG: What does Jesus reveal to us here about the nature of discipleship?

DISCOVER: Why is this dynamic necessary for discipleship to happen?

DO: How would you describe your level of commitment to Christ? Take stock of your life today. Consider various areas and rate your level of commitment to Jesus. Are you deeply devoted to Christ or are you your top priority? Consider how you can make Jesus the priority of your entire life and how that impacts the different facets of daily life.

About the Author

Pastor Dan Hickling

Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.