I like to have nice things. When I am preparing to purchase something I usually lean toward getting the better, more expensive model that has more features and offers more longevity. I don’t see as much value in buying something that will wear out or break shortly after the purchase. With that said, sometimes I feel that we live in a “throw away” society. A place where many people buy something as cheap as possible and then toss it once it has lost its value. Everywhere I look, there are discount dollar stores filled with items that will only last so long. In either example, there is a cost that we are willing to pay to obtain the item that we want to have.
It is Free, but it will Cost you Everything
Jesus speaks to his followers in Luke 14 about the cost of being His Disciples. He basically said that if we are going to follow Him, we are going to have to be fully committed. He requires a devoted commitment if we choose to follow Him, and He wants us to count the cost first. How many of us can say that there are other things in our lives that we put before Jesus? What we place our focus on is what we worship. We may not like to admit it, but in one case or another almost all of us have to say that there are things in our lives that compete for our attention.
When was the last time you counted the cost? Here is what Jesus said in Luke 14:26-27: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his 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.”
In this statement, we are given a very clear model of what type of disciple Christ is looking for. In His reference of the cross, Jesus is foreshadowing events yet to come when He made this statement that requires total self-sacrifice. The message is clear – “Cling to Me alone and forsake all others to do so.” All other relationships will not last. There is only one eternal relationship that you must be certain of.
As believers, we must count the cost of being followers of Jesus, and we must be willing to face whatever is in store for us when we decide to follow Christ. There will be times in our walk where our obedience to His voice must outweigh what our own will desires. In those instances, we have a choice to make, and that is to echo the words of Christ in the garden when He prayed to His Father “Not my will, but your will be done.” In the context of Luke 14, Jesus referenced one who plans to build a tower, the fact that they must associate a cost, and they must budget enough funds before starting such a project. A person who starts to build but cannot see the project to completion or is not capable of supporting the needs of the task leaves an unfinished product for others to see. This person is then open to ridicule by those who see a building left unfinished. Jesus also spoke of a king who evaluated his ability to overcome his opponent before making war against an adversary. If that king determined that he could not overpower his enemy, then he would send a convoy to them and make peace rather than proceeding into battle. The point is that we must first evaluate the cost.
There is a mandate for us to evaluate ourselves and determine first that we are willing to give it all up before we follow Christ. While Jesus’ sacrifice is sufficient for all, and it is the Father’s desire that none shall perish, Jesus still calls those who follow Him to be devoted to him alone. In Heaven there is no allowance for serving two masters. In Luke 9:42 Jesus said, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the Kingdom of God”. Once you begin to walk in tandem with Jesus, there is no looking back. God has forgotten our past and is only interested in our future. There is no cost, nor could we ever earn what He has paid for if we tried. We cannot earn our way into heaven and eternity by completing a certain list of requirements. Relationship is a free gift for those who are willing to receive it. What is required, however, is a devotion which costs us everything that we value and hold dear. We must ask ourselves where our heart focus lies.
Jesus wants to be our first and only love. He desires to be our top priority and He leaves no room for competition. His love for us is jealous of any other loves we have. To follow Him means to go wherever He leads us. He always provides a way for us to choose Him, but many of us prioritize other things ahead of Him. Again, where our focus lies tells us what we are worshipping. In some cases, many of us fail to let go of our past and move forward with Him. I urge you to cling to Him and don’t look back. Jesus is not interested in our past. He is only interested in our future, and the plans that He has for us. Choosing a future with Jesus contains both challenges and blessings. All the blessings He has for us will outweigh the challenges in the end by far.
Take a moment and evaluate the cost that Jesus paid for us. He paid the ultimate price to win us back from death, which speaks to the value He places on each one of us. Now count the cost of following Him. Reflect for a moment on how much we value the relationship we have with Him. Is it a dollar store value, or is it something we must invest in that will last the test of time?