Counting the Cost of Following Jesus
Counting the Cost of Following Jesus
If you desire to walk closely with the Lord and live out His purpose for your life, it is worth pausing to ask yourself what following Jesus should be costing you. There comes a point in your walk with Christ where going deeper can only happen when you surrender, trust and give it all to Him.
Pastor Aaron shared an excellent message on Sunday and asked this question: “Where have we fallen in love with the idea of following Jesus and forgotten the cost required?”
The truth is that there is nothing that will ever be worth staying far from God. To withhold any part of yourself from Him is to stay in the shallows, never discovering the incredible things He wants to do in and through you.
Paying the price of following Jesus is the only way to experience His abundant life.
Cost Is About Personal Surrender, Not Religious Acts
King David, the man after God’s own heart, understood that giving things to God was a matter of personal cost. In 2 Samuel 24, a plague had come upon Israel and the prophet Gad instructed David that he needed to build an altar and sacrifice at a certain location in order for God to heal the people. The place was owned by a guy named Araunah, who offered to give the spot and the required animals for sacrifice to David for free.
David’s response is recorded in 2 Samuel 24:24: “But the king replied to Araunah, ‘No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.’ So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen and paid fifty shekels of silver for them.”
David could have satisfied the religious requirement without the personal side of paying a cost and no one would have been the wiser. Outwardly he would have looked devout. But in his heart, between the Lord and himself, David knew what truly counted between him and God was his own heart of surrender. He needed to personally sacrifice at a cost.
The result was that God accepted David’s offering and stopped the plague that had killed 70,000 people.
In your life, you could be outwardly religious but withholding your heart from Jesus. What is the cost of your discipleship and abandonment to Him?
Here’s one of my favorite Charles Spurgeon quotes and one I pray almost daily:
“Bring all you have and give it entirely unto God, and say, “There, Lord, I surrender all to you; do with me as you will; take away from me what you will; give me what you please; or withhold what you choose. I leave all in your hand; I can trust you entirely; I know you will make no mistake; I know you will not treat me harshly; I leave all to you; without word, or thought, or wish, I surrender all.”
God Will Only Ask of You What He Personally Gave to You
You might be thinking you are unable to please God or you don’t have anything to give. You could be struggling with the idea that you can’t give what someone else is giving. In reality, God already placed the offering He wants from you in your hands and all you need to do is recognize what that is, trust Him and let go.
When we talk about cost and giving our all to follow Jesus, it is important to note that each person’s offering will be different. God may call someone to the mission field which costs him/her an easier life and the experience of suffering and persecution abroad. He may call someone else to be faithful in raising his/her family well in patience, daily faithfulness and the love of God. He may call another to give sacrificially through financial means.
What’s important is that you understand what God is asking of you and give it with all your heart, with no compromise, comparison or hesitation.
The poor widow who gave the tiny bit she had was a righteous woman because of her willing and generous spirit before the Lord (Luke 21:1-4). She gave everything God put in her hands to give.
Numbers 18:29 tells us “You must present as the Lord’s portion the best and holiest part of everything given to you.” This means my best. Not someone else’s best.
My personal best.
God will never ask you to pay what you don’t have to give, but He will ask for all of you and bring you to a place of surrender.
What is on the Other Side of the Cost?
You might be holding back due to fear. In our humanness we believe that cost means only loss, striving, struggling and stress.
It would be a total shame if you forget about all the incredible joy and meaning to be experienced walking with Jesus waiting for you on other side of your altar.
Don’t let the enemy lie to you and tell you that the thing you’re still holding onto is somehow better than your Savior.
Jesus wants the best for you- and the best thing for you is His life, freedom, anointing, and peace. When He asks you to lay something down or pay a cost, it is only because He has something far better. Every time, in every situation, no matter what.
He doesn’t want anything robbing you of what He paid so dearly to give you. He doesn’t want lesser things to keep you in captivity away from His living truth (John 8:34-36).
Think of people who have lived through persecution. For them, following Jesus cost them dearly. Yet I have never heard anyone who has lived through persecution say that it just wasn’t worth it. In fact we hear stories of how suffering and persecuted believers are strengthened and begin living in a new realm of faith. The church always grows through persecution because there is a refining and purifying effect that paying the cost has on your faith.
Whatever the cost of following Jesus is for you, pay it.
Whatever needs to die so that Christ can be glorified through you, put it on the altar and leave it there.
Whatever you need to release, let it go.
Whatever the barrier has been to living for the kingdom of God, break it down.
Whenever a cost has been extracted of me by the hand of God, it has ALWAYS been worth it. When I have willingly submitted myself to His process (and admittedly I haven’t always done this), the results have been growth, fruit, patience, and learning to be more like Christ.
Even in times of difficulty I have seen God teach me how to have a willing spirit that learns to trust Him when a cost is asked of me. He taught me the beauty of journeying with Him through trial, the incredible growth only possible in surrender and the reward of a richer, more solid walk with Him.
You’ve got to give up to go up, but once you do go up it’s pretty amazing.
I learned to say and live by this: “Lord, here I am. I choose to walk in your ways and do Your will. You will always have my ‘yes.’ I want my daily life to count for the Kingdom, no matter what it costs me.”
Do not be afraid of going all in, paying the price of following Jesus, and living for Him, no matter what it costs you.