Jesus told us to count the cost!
Large crowds followed Jesus — until He reminded them of the cost. Several times in scripture, Jesus reminded the crowd of the cost of being a disciple.
So how much does it cost to journey well with Jesus?
“And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, If any man come to me and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple….. Likewise, whosoever he is of you that forsakes not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple. Salt is good: but if the salt has lost his savor, wherewith shall it be seasoned? It is neither fit for the land nor yet for the dunghill, but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear let him hear (Luke 14:25–27;33, NKJV)
So He turned to the crowd told them what it would cost to follow Him. We must take to heart the fact that Jesus demands absolute loyalty.
Absolutely nothing can have a first-place but Jesus. He demands everything.
When Jesus said that a man must bear his cross to be His disciple, the crowd knew exactly what Jesus was saying. The audience around Rome was aware of the gruesome cruelty and penalty of crucifixion.
They also knew that before the crucifixion, the guilty carried their cross to the place of execution. So they fully understood what Jesus was saying. Jesus purposefully told the crowd to count the cost to follow Him.
So before we decide to take up our cross and follow Him, we must count the cost.
Jesus makes it clear that we must forsake everything. That is the only way to be His disciple. We must surrender everything to follow Him.
Deny yourself (forsake it all) and take up your cross (be ready to crucify anything that keeps our complete surrender and from being obedient) daily and follow Me.” (Luke 9:23, NKJV)
Carrying our cross on this journey does not mean just dealing with the hardships and frustrations of life. It means being ready to lay your life down for our Lord and Savior.
The Cost of Spiritual Growth
I like the term genuine conversion. We must make sure we have an authentic experience with Christ.
Genuine conversion begins in a heart and mind that says, “I am at the end of myself, and I need Jesus!” It starts when we recognize that we are sinners who fall short of the glory of God, who have earned the wages of death, and who are utterly destitute without God’s grace, mercy, love, and forgiveness, leading us to repentance.
True conversion occurs when we are born again.
“Having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever.” (I Peter 1:23, NKJV)
Genuine conversion begins when we repent heart and confess that Jesus is our Lord. Genuine conversion is being crucified with Christ, and Christ lives through us. Genuine conversion is death to the “old person” and giving way to a “new person.”
Growing and changing go hand in hand. Change is the evidence of growth, and growth is the evidence Christ-followers with commitment. (2 Peter 1:8–9).
“From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:16–17 ESV).”
God wants us to move closer to Him. He wants us to grow spiritually.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith — more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire — may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
The Cost of Genuine commitment
Our commitment to God requires that we serve God, God’s way. God wants us to give it all so that we can have all of Him. A growing relationship with God comes when we allow Him to refine us.
Your age does not define that you are mature. Discipline and self-mastery are strong indicators of maturity. Spiritual growth is a process similar to natural growth.
“As newborn babes desire the pure milk of the word that you may grow thereby.” (I Peter 2: 2, NKJV)
Baby Christians desire for God’s word similar to a baby craving milk. This means that God’s word is the nourishment of our spiritual growth.
“But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” (Matthew 7:24–29, NKJV)
Notice the growth from baby to full age. This season requires mature believers to stand firm and display God’s strength.
Let’s get started with this fundamental truth in mind — genuine commitment is the result of genuine conversion.
Ensure you are born again and solidify your commitment to follow Christ no matter where this journey takes you.
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