Following Jesus

What will it cost to follow God?

Christmas catalogs have started arriving in the mail. Toy commercials are flooding the airwaves. Red banners announcing the latest sales are flying on every street corner. Welcome to the Holidays! The time of the year where kids look for what they want while the parents examine the price tag.

Everything costs.

When it comes to the calling of God, I have often been in the place of examining what it would cost to say yes to Him.

If I say yes, what will it cost me in my reputation?

If I say yes, what will it cost me on a time level?

If I say yes, what will it cost me in terms of my comfort?

If I say yes, what will it cost me in the other pursuits of my life?

Jesus actually told us to count the cost before saying yes.

“If you want to be my disciple, you must, by comparison, hate everyone else—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple.  And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple. “But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it?  Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you.  They would say, ‘There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’  Luke 14:26-30

Counting the cost isn’t a one time event, but a constant remembering. Often the cost doesn’t look as steep as it really is from a distance. The closer we get, the bigger it becomes.

Here’s the other side of the coin, though. What is the cost of not saying yes?

If I hold onto control, what will I be settling for?

If I refuse to take the risk, what grace will I have rejected for my life or someone else’s?

If I choose my own comfort, what story will I miss out on that I could have been part of?

If I insist on doing things my own way, what influence will I give up that I could have had?

There’s always a cost. We just choose which one we will pay.

There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death. Proverbs 16:25

Jesus provided an example for us that paid a steep cost to fulfill His calling. Hebrews 12:2 says, “Because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured the cross.” The cost was high but the reward was worth it. God always makes it worth it.

The cost of not saying yes, on the other hand, is never worth it. There will not ever be a time where we get to the end of the road and are glad we refused His call. One day, all that is hidden will be revealed and every knee will bow before Him.

God elevated him to the place of highest honor
    and gave him the name above all other names,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:9-11

Imagine a civil war where parties on both sides claim they know who the rightful ruler of the kingdom should be. It’s not too far from our current reality here in America. All the tension, manipulative strategies, and jockeying to be the one on the soapbox are silenced when the true ruler is revealed. There can be no argument because the authority is obvious. He is the only rightful person to rule.

While that scenario might not happen in America anytime soon. It is the reality for all those who belong to the Kingdom of God. Jesus isn’t just our Savior, He is our King.

We are living in a day and age where lots of people want to claim to know what God would or wouldn’t do, what He is or isn’t about, or who He obviously would have voted or not voted for. I am still learning all those things, but one thing I do know… anyone who is truly following Jesus is paying a high cost in their life. They are someone who is surrendered to the will of God above their own opinions. Their yes to whatever God asks of them is evident in their actions through humility and a teachable spirit.

What cost are you paying right now with your life? Is it a cost of yes or a cost of refusal?

Who are you listening to right now? Is it someone who is obviously following Jesus with their life or a critic who sits on the sidelines and throws insults at everyone as they walk by.

Be careful, there will be a cost no matter what. Only you decide which one you will pay.