Being a disciple of Jesus should cost you something. If it isn’t, chances are you aren’t a disciple. It’s easy to assume you are a disciple of Jesus once you say the magic prayer and invite Him into your life. While such an assumption is safe and comfortable, it isn’t reality. Rather than frightening us, we should all be encouraged to pay whatever price necessary for the privilege of following Jesus.
A.W. Tozer once prayed the Lord would make him “willing to let my Christian experience and Christian standards cost me something right down to the last gasp.” Tozer understood being a disciple of Jesus would cost him something in this life. What is discipleship costing you?
We shouldn’t be surprised discipleship would be costly. Remember how Jesus described it? He said it could leave you homeless, upend your priorities, find you betrayed by your own family, persecuted, and considered the devil incarnate (Luke 9:57-62, Matthew 10:21-25). Discipleship will cost you something. It may cost you everything. It’s a sweet deal, but not here on earth. The world is a dark place ruled by very real and evil forces. They do not take kindly to the light. As long as we are reflecting the beauty of the Lord and illuminating the darkest areas of individuals and society, there will be a target on our backs. The minions of Satan are relentless in their efforts to collect the bounty.
I’m not suggesting we should foolishly go looking for trouble. I am saying we should expect to find it. The way we conduct our lives should be so countercultural we can’t help but draw attention. Once we declare our allegiance to Jesus, every move we make will be amplified and scrutinized. People will be watching for us to fall. They want to discredit our witness so as to halt the spread of the Gospel. We must forever be on guard and strive to live a life resembling that of Jesus. We won’t be perfect like Him, but we should get as close as we possibly can to His standard.
So, what is discipleship costing you? When was the last time you suffered for your faith? And please don’t give me some first world problem as an answer. If you consider being excluded by the “in crowd” as persecution, you need to learn what our brothers and sisters are being forced to endure in countries where the Gospel is prohibited. Our afflictions truly are light (2 Corinthians 4:17) by comparison. We must be careful to not overdramatize our situation.
If discipleship hasn’t cost you anything, perhaps you haven’t been following Christ as closely as you thought. Following Jesus involves more than getting to know Him through prayer and Bible study. We’ve got to put what we learn into action. The moment we begin acting on our beliefs, persecution will follow. We’ll have to pay a price. These will vary in severity and cost, but make no mistake, you will pay. The great news is, the ultimate price was paid by Jesus on the cross. There is no longer any amount we are unable to handle, because Jesus has already paid it all. All He asks of us is to remain faithful to Him. And that is truly a small price to pay.