There is a house in my hometown that the owners decided to renovate. I don't know the details of the project, but it appears they either miscalculated the cost or ran out. Perhaps they, too, had some major unexpected costs that they just couldn't cover. It is now sitting unfinished, rotting, abandoned, and an eye sore.
The Bible gives instructions on everything from taxes, mother-in-laws, bullies, sex, to building plans. In Luke 15:28-33, "For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish.'"
Recently I was witnessing to a friend who was not a believer. She had lots of questions but just couldn't understand what Jesus dying on a cross had to do with her. We talked about God, the Bible, Jesus for months. At one point, she said she would read the Bible and make a decision. She said she wouldn't join a club without knowing what it was about first so she wanted to read the Bible first. I thought, "GREAT!" I know the Bible is living and active and sharper than a double-edged sword that pierces as far as the division of soul and spirit and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Reading the Word for myself has literally transformed me from the inside out so I was thrilled that she was going to read it for herself. This was her way of "counting the cost" of being a follower of Christ. It took her seven months to read the whole Bible. Did you read that?!?! Only SEVEN months. By Psalms she became a believer. Every time I think about this I literally cry.
Is there a cost to following Christ? God gives us the gift of salvation. We can't earn salvation, but salvation cost Jesus His life. When we become a follower of Christ, there is a cost for us well. This isn't the message I hear often in some teaching about becoming a follower of Christ, but what does the Bible actually teach? How do we become Jesus' disciples? In Luke 14:33, Jesus says, "None of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions." OUCH. Do I have to sell my house and everything I own to be a follower of Christ? No, not necessarily, but maybe! I have to be willing to give up everything for Jesus.
Some possibilities for followers of Christ:
1. You may be handed over to the courts. (Matthew 10:17) Although we don't face this here in America right now, I feel that it is coming quickly. I just listened to an amazing broadcast the other day, Trusting God in the Midst of Persecution. It is an interview with Naghmeh Abedini, wife of Pastor Saeed Abedini who is currently imprisoned in Iran because of his Christian beliefs. It is an incredible interview that I encourage every believer to hear. This happens everywhere! We are so blinded in our country to this possibility.
2. You may be betrayed by family. (Matthew 10:21) "Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death."
3. You may be hated. (Matthew 10:22) Because of the name you bear, some will hate you.
3. You will be persecuted (Matthew 10:23) If Jesus Christ Himself was persecuted to the point of death, how can we expect anything different? A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master. All throughout the New Testament we are warned about when not if we will be persecuted for His name's sake.
4. You may die. (Matthew 10:38-39) We are told that in order to be worthy to be a follower we must take up our cross and follow after Jesus. We must be willing to die for Christ. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who receives Me, receives Him who sent Me.
Sounds appealing right?!?! Sign me up!!! Philippians 1:29 says, "For to you it has been granted for Christ's sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake." Everyone wants the good parts of being a Christian, but we see there are some hard parts to being a Christian too. In order to be a disciple of Christ, you must be willing to suffer for Him. This could be anything small such as being unfriended on Facebook because of your beliefs, to something more difficult such as suffering in a job or public ridicule and mockery and more.
There is is a cost to following Jesus, but is the cost worth it? Even if I am hated, betrayed, or killed my answer is an emphatic YES! There is a cost but what is the reward? Too much to write!! Salvation, forgiveness of sins, peace, inexpressible joy, gift of the Holy Spirit to teach, guide, and convict us, and an eternal inheritance. If I were to make a pro and con list on whether or not to be a follower of Christ, although there are some cons, the pros completely outweigh the negatives.
I adore this song by Rend Collective that describes this beautifully. Here is the link to the song...The Cost by Rend Collective
I'm saying yes to You and no to my desires.
I'll leave myself behind and follow You.
I'll walk the narrow road 'cause it leads me to You
I'll fall but grace will pick me up again.
I've counted up the cost, Oh, I've counted up the cost
Yes, I've counted up the cost and You are worth it.
I do not need safety as much as I need You
You're dangerous but Lord You're beautiful
I'll chase You through the pain, I'll carry my cross
'cause real love is not afraid to bleed.
Jesus take my all, take my everything
I've counted up the cost and You're worth everything
I'd like to ask if you're a true follower, a true disciple. Are you willing to give up everything and follow Him, because that is the requirement. If you're not willing, then perhaps you're not a true follower. I've had to ask myself the same question. He is so worth it. There is nothing in this world that can satisfy.