Friday, August 13, 2010

Counting the Cost

"As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, 'I will follow you wherever you go.' Jesus replied, 'Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.' Still another said, ' I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family.' Jesus replied, 'No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service to the kingdom of God.'" Luke 9:57-58, 61-62.

"What does Jesus want from us? Total dedication, not half-hearted commitment. We can't pick and choose among Jesus' ideas and follow him selectively; we have to accept the cross along with the crown, judgment as well as mercy. We must count the cost and be willing to abandon everything else that has given us security. With our focus on Jesus, we should allow nothing to distract us from the manner of living that he calls good and true." Life Application Bible, p.1820; Luke 9:62

In the American Christian Church we often speak of "counting the cost" of following Jesus. But, do we really understand what that phrase means? Do we really understand what it means to "pay it all" for Him? I am realizing that we need to be very careful using some of the phrases we use in the church today, because I am not sure we really understand the depth of what they mean.

18 months ago I worked alongside some very dear friends as we packed up my belongings in order for me to move out of my house, as I was preparing to follow my Jesus to the ends of the earth. I joked at that time that I had a better understanding of why the rich young ruler had such a hard time deciding to sell his belongings in order to follow Jesus. Last year I stored, gave away, threw away, or sold all of my earthly belongings. Little did I know then that the counting of the cost was not over! Oh no, not by a long shot! I am learning that it is not a one time deal, but a daily process followers of Christ must go through.

What do you hold most dear to your heart? Think about that just a second. Honestly, what is the one thing, or few things that are the most important to you? Those things that you think to yourself, "I would follow Jesus anywhere as long as he doesn't ask me to give this up..." We can not serve two masters at one time! We just can't do it! God is a jealous god. If we really want to follow Him, we must be willing to hold everything/person in the palm of our hands, with our fingers stretched out wide! That's right, not clutching them tightly in our fists. When we clutch them tightly, it just hurts more when God asks us to let go of them. If we hold them in an open palm, we are acknowledging that they are not really ours, and He is free to do with them as He sees best.

When we put anything higher than Him, we are loving the creation more than the Creator. What does abandoning all for Him mean to you? Well, I thought I had that phrase all figured out last year. Oh how wrong I was! Choosing to follow Jesus is a daily choosing to sacrifice yourself and everything outside of Him that gives us security. Jesus wants total dedication. Will you let Him show you what that means in your life? I haven't figured it all out yet in my own life, but I choose today to let Him have His way. I choose to have open palms, and when He asks me to let go of the precious "things" in my life, I choose to crawl in His lap and let Him love me through the hurt. No one understands better than Him what sacrifice really means!

What does abandoning all for Him mean for you?

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