There Should Be a Cost
Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. (Matthew 16:24 KJV)
I had an amazing revelation tonight while studying about being a “follower of Jesus Christ.” Being a true follower of Christ will “cost” you something in your life, and usually the “cost” will be ongoing; not just a one-time ordeal…Truly “following” Jesus can cost you personal time, finances, certain freedoms, friendships, family ties, set-backs, judgments, and even Peace with others who do not value or understand your commitments. I know…I can truly testify that “following Jesus” has cost me certain things in this life…
1. Personal Time: Following Jesus costs a person “personal time.” No longer are you the CEO of your daily schedule. Your time belongs to God to be used as He directs. This is NOT popular since most people feel that after working all day or night, depending upon your work schedule, driving in traffic both to and from work, taking care of practical daily eating needs, personal hygiene, and countless numbers of household chores and errands, what “time” is left for God? This is why the Bible talks about “slotfullness.” A truly “slothful” (unorganized, undisciplined, even lazy) person cannot be a true “follower of Jesus.” Why not? Because they simply don’t know how to “discipline” themselves to SURRENDER and ALLOW God to organize their daily schedule of events. Believe me, having raised three daughters while working a fulltime job, attending college, and carrying out the duties and responsibilities of being a Pastor’s wife, pianist, and Sunday school teacher, my life would have run amuck had GOD not been my “time-keeper.” Yet, God did not send down “angels” to do all the work load, I had to be “willing” to surrender a lot of things that my “flesh” would have lavished in; if given opportunity…Many times, I had to also be the “bad guy” in the family not allowing my children to lavish in their fun and more pleasurable times…I’m pretty sure they’ll tell you that my role as a mother resembled a Marine drill Sargent at times, but I can truly say that as adults they know how to work!! So, “following Jesus” costs you Personal Time…
2. Finances: Following Jesus costs personal “finances.” Laying aside for a moment the teachings of the Bible regarding tithes and offerings, let’s just talk about money for gasoline to drive back and forth to church and other church-related functions. Added clothing for special events. The purchase of Bibles and other religious books and materials. Paper, tablets, or notebooks for prayer journals. Cards and postage to mail a variety of cards to those in need…All contributing to the “cost” of truly “following Jesus” in addition to tithes and offerings.
3. Certain Freedoms: Face it; when you are a true “follower of Jesus” you simply can’t behave like or “do” what everyone else is doing! You are called to a “higher” standard. A higher sense of value and moral character…Your life is no longer your own. It’s been purchased by the “Shed Blood of Jesus Christ.” You represent His kingdom and HIS values and standards…That will “cost” you something, indeed! People will “watch” your life more closely and inspect your outgoing and incomings…Everything you say or do will reflect upon your personal relationship with Christ…from the way you present yourself in dress to the way you clean out or don’t clean out your garage! People notice…And, in reality they are supposed to notice!” That is your “purpose in Christ” to live differently than the world; or why else have two different types of people; lost or saved?!
4. Friendships: We ALL want to be liked and have friends. Friends enrich our lives. We enjoy being liked and being a part of a group of friends…Until, our friends decide that our “dedication” and “commitment” to Christ infringes upon “their” lives and freedoms! They, perhaps, don’t want “what we’ve got!” So, either one or two things will happen…Your friendship and association will eventually decline or one of you will eventually follow the other…either towards Christ; or away from Christ…Compromise is never a pretty thing in the lives of those who “follow Christ.” It will “cost” you something.
5. Family Ties: This one is tough. I remember having to explain to my grandmother that I simply could NOT attend family gatherings anymore on Sundays after my husband started in the ministry. Since Sundays were the only time the majority of the family could gather in one place at the same time, I had to miss out on those family gatherings. At first, my family didn’t fully understand it. And, I’m sure that my name was brought up a time or two at those gatherings for not being able to attend, but after years of seeing my family in “service” on Sundays, they accepted and “valued” our commitment. Now, thirty-five years later, I would say that my grandmother’s family and I are as close, if not closer, than ever…Even though my grandmother has gone on to be with the Lord…Following Christ will “cost” you something.
6. Set-backs: Whew! I could be on this topic all night. I have seen my share of “set-backs.” As a young pastor’s wife, before I entered into the teaching profession, I worked as a secretary for one of the doctors in our town. I truly enjoyed my duties and time spent there, but I was eventually “asked” to resign my position because I simply did not “fit in” with the other staff. Why? Because I guarded my testimony and relationship with the Lord and did not wish to compromise on certain invitations to “party” with the girls after hours. I was heart-broken when I was asked to voluntarily “leave.” I thought my world had ended in many ways and I wasn’t sure what we were going to do financially. But, GOD came on the scene and opened doors that only HE could have opened. I was offered a job with the school system that would eventually lead to my returning to college for my teaching degree in middle school education…Thank God for that “set back” in life that was a catalyst in disguise! Following Jesus will “cost” you something!
7. Judgements and Peace: Following Christ will cause you to be “judged” and at “odds” with many of the people and family members that you share your life with. You say, “But, I thought “Christians” were peaceable people.” Yes, we are to live our lives at “peace” as much as possible, but not to the tune of “compromising” “Thus saith the Lord.” It’s scary to “put it all on the line” for Christ…I mean you are not guaranteed a pleasant earthly outcome…Chances are you will “suffer” from your sacrifices. But, it’s your choice to truly “follow” Christ or follow him from a distance…
Sadly, too many people who say they are Christians choose to “follow Christ at a distance.” Which is actually NOT following HIM at all…The price for our Salvation cost Christ everything…And, HE was willing and obedient to pay the price…If you are “following” Christ and NOT paying a price, then you may be following Him from a distance; which is, like I stated earlier, NOT following HIM at all…Like my husband used to say, “Being a Christian is NOT a walk in the park, it’s a journey on the battlefield.” But, let us not forget that our reward for any and all costs that we pay here on Earth cannot compare to what Christ Jesus has in store for his “followers” when we gather on the other side! Oh, the JOY of Following Christ…There Should be a Cost…Amen.
Remember, God Loves You!