Many Christians seem to be confused about the cost of following Jesus. I blame the watered-down preaching that has invaded our pulpits over the last century. Particularly in the age of the celebrity pastor, the truth of the gospel and all it implies has been distorted, perverted, and sometimes outright ignored. Know that following Christ will cost you everything. It won’t require you to give up a few things but to abandon everything (Matthew 16:24-26).
You cannot follow Jesus without cost. If living for Christ does not result in a radically different life, you aren’t following Jesus. If serving Him costs you nothing, you aren’t serving Him. You are fooling yourself for any number of selfish reasons because the cost of following Jesus is noticeable, and it is significant.
Jesus said anyone who would follow Him would need to take up their cross daily. Remember the way Jesus suffered on His cross. No cross comes without pain and agony. Every day, we must be prepared to suffer for the sake of Jesus. If He is your Lord, your personal preferences and pleasures no longer matter. Once you are crucified with Christ, you no longer live (Galatians 2:19-20). Yet so many who proclaim Christ with their lips continue to live selfish lives, revealing they still hold themselves to be the lord of their own lives. I don’t know how to be more clear. What we want no longer matters. What we want is nothing more than garbage for us now (Philippians 3:7-11).
Rather than health and wealth, Jesus promised we would be hated, homeless, and persecuted (John 15:18-21; Matthew 8:20). The cost of following Jesus is great. You don’t have to bow your knee to Him right now, but you will bow to Him in the end. To declare Him Lord willingly and because you love Him will not result in a life of ease, but it will guarantee an eternity of peace in His presence. If you wait until you unwillingly bow to His majesty, an eternity of torment and separation awaits.
We surrender to the Lordship of Christ but then immediately bargain with Him about what things we can keep in our life; we have missed the point. Our surrender is not sincere. When you understand what Jesus did for you and recognize your selfish desires put you in rebellion against Him, you will have no choice but to fall on your face in sorrowful repentance. At that moment, you will be ready to give up everything for Him who gave up everything for you.
The cost of following Jesus is not trivial. The cost is all that you have and all that you are. Your life is no longer your own because you have been bought at a great price (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). The death of Christ made it possible for you to live forever with Him, but He reserves that privilege for those who accept His gift and honor Him with their lives. If He is truly your Lord, your life will reflect that. Every moment you live will be for the glory of the God who created you, loves you, and died for you. The cost of following Jesus is great, but the reward is far greater.