My conversations usually contain the phrase, “Yeah, five years ago when I started walking with the Lord.”
Five years ago I would have never imagined saying that sentence. EVER. It is an absolute unexplainable miracle that doesn’t quite make sense. It’s probably like that for many of us Jesus freaks. After a week of pressure and overwhelming piles of issues, I was faced with this question in my five year old walk, “Is this worth it?” The “this” being the life of a Christian. What does that really mean? As I was pondering this question the phrase “count the cost” came to my mind so I looked it up and it’s found in Luke 14:25-33. Verse 33 is, “So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.
There’s the rub “…forsake all that he has”.
Merriam-Webster’s definition is “to renounce or turn away from entirely.” So this begs the question, “Am I truly willing to renounce and turn away from those ideals, expectations, hopes, dreams, desires, etc to follow Jesus?” In this portion of Scripture Jesus lays out what it means to follow Him, and what it does not mean. He is setting realistic expectations for us, not trying to sell us something. He’s not promising fame, fortune, success in the way we know it. He is promising something far greater: A life worth living. And by “worth” it doesn’t mean what we think it means, either. This part of Luke 14 is where the rubber meets the road. Since Jesus is laying out what it means to be His follower, He is asking them the question. He is asking me the question. He is asking you the question. Sometimes I tend to equate Christianity with how well things are going and how well I am liked, but that’s not what’s going on here. That’s not the real deal. Here’s the real deal…verse 26 of that same chapter, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.” Wow. The word cannot just leaps off the page. It is very clear. In comparison to Him, we must have no regard for anything else. This doesn’t mean having no relationships because He clearly calls us to love Him and each other. What it means is that I will not look to anything else for my value, my worth, my significance and my purpose. In talking with a friend this morning she mentioned my tendencies to look to other things to find my value and purpose. This is true. I’ve spent a long time “trying to be a Christian.” I think it’s time I just rest in being God’s child. It’s time to stop striving for what I think it should like. It’s time that I seek Him and listen to His very Spirit living inside me. This is that freedom He speaks of and the abundance He promises. I could write thousands of words about why it’s hard to be a Christian and why it’s not fair that good is punished and bad is celebrated in this world. I could write about why it’s hard for someone like me to follow God, but the truth is, it is hard for all of us – it was hard for Jesus. You want proof of this?? Look at this verse in Hebrews 5:8, “though He was a Son, He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.” Jesus did suffer and not just on the cross. He gives us the choice and is honest with us about what awaits, “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter” Romans 8:36. I know this sounds desperately depressing and who wants that kind of life – but really look at it for what it is. Do you want it comfortable, easy, fun and superficial or do you want the experience of a lifetime that will mean glory for God’s kingdom…a glory that when we get only glimpses of, drops us to our knees in adoration? It’s a choice; a daily one, a minute by minute one, a moment by moment one. So is it worth it, the cost? For me, dear reader, yes. Again and again, yes.
So, what follows that verse in Romans 8:36 about being killed all day long? Well, this is where we end today’s blog:
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Romans 8:37