What Does It Actually Cost To Follow Jesus?
Jesus wants all of us, not just part of us. The cost of following Jesus is everything. He wants our whole heart, all of our desires, our own will. He wants us to put our whole faith in Him and Him alone. To follow Jesus means to carry your cross daily. Which means die to your selfish ways and be born into Christ and live by the Spirit. The toughest truth of it all: He would rather us sit down and count that cost and potentially say no before following him rather than someone who wants to treat him like a trophy on a shelf and take Him as savior, not Lord. Let that sit...
Coming to know Jesus is the best thing to ever happen in this world. You discover the joy, happiness, peace, freedom, love, forgiveness, grace, and so much more that Jesus has to offer. Life gets good. Maybe not externally but internally, there is change. What we love so much, is Jesus Christ our Savior, but what we tend to avoid, is Jesus Christ our Lord. We love to follow Jesus, but only to an extent. There is a powerful story of Jesus being asked during his ministry what the cost would be to follow him. His answer is simple, but hard.
Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple. Luke 14: 25-33
Here is a hard truth for us to chew on: Jesus would rather us sit down and count the cost of following him and what it takes, rather than just jump right into it.
Jesus takes seriously the cost of following him and he hopes we do too. The phrase “bear his own cross” can be commonly understood as being prepared for the burdens and trials this world will hold. While that is true, it goes even farther to illustrate that the cross was an instrument of death. To that which bearing our own cross is committing to Jesus until death. Not a temporary project that we stop halfway through with, but something we commit to all the way to the end. Luke 9: 24-25 says “"For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?"
The Cost of Following Jesus is quite simply put, our lives. It is really intimidating to hear that and even scary trying to think of what that looks like. Does that mean that the life I live now is nothing like the life I lived before? Am I supposed to leave everything in my life behind? Quit my job? Say goodbye to my friends? What would life even look like?
These are all very valid thoughts and should absolutely be something that we consider. I won’t say that God is telling you to leave everything and I also won’t say that He isn’t. Super fun fact: I’m not God haha. What it looks like for each person is different, but the principles are the same. What we are giving up are our desires, our wishes, our plans, and our will, to submit to the Father’s. What Jesus wants is our hearts. We struggle SO hard in our society with the comfortability that we live in. We love our house, love our routine, love our job, friends, community, and so much more. And the second there is a threat to our comfortability, our natural reaction is to defend it, and push it away, unless of course it’s convenient or easy. And that’s exactly why Jesus wants us to count the cost.
Jesus doesn’t want him as our last priority or something in the middle, he wants Him at the center and front of our lives. When Jesus was being followed by a crowd of 5000 men plus women and children, he performed many miracles to them and even fed them with his grand miracle of multiplying 3 loaves of bread and 2 fish. The crowds continually wanted to follow him but Jesus knew their hearts. They were in it for the convenient services. The free food and the healings. They were moochers. They didn’t want Jesus, they just wanted what Jesus had to offer. This story can be found in John chapter 6 and I encourage you to go read the entire thing. By the end of the chapter, Jesus tells them what the cost is of following him and it dissipates to the twelve disciples.
At this point you might be thinking, this sounds miserable. Why would a loving God want to take everything away from me and make my life harder? Those and many others are valid questions but I read this quote the other day that opened my eyes. It said,
“It’s often been said that the gospel contains some ‘hard truths.’ I understand what is meant by that. But the reason the Gospel is viewed in such a way is not because its truths are hard, but because our hearts are. The Gospel dares to confront us about the sin that we love to commit,” Darrell B. Harrison.
The cost is a lot, and it may seem like too much to give, and that’s okay. Count the cost. While we may lose comfortability in this world and the pleasures it may bring at times, what fills the soul we have just emptied is one filled with purpose, meaning, love, joy, peace, forgiveness, freedom, wisdom, life and to the full. Are you willing to give what it takes? To surrender your own passions and desires to give Jesus your heart? Willing serve a lifetime here for an eternity there to come? Ask anyone who is a devoted Christian what their experience is life living strictly for Jesus and you will be blown away with the revelation they bring. The creator of everything knows the true path to life and the way we truly desire it, but it requires trust like no other, faith like no one has seen, and a sacrifice the world wouldn’t understand.