COUNT THE COST
Luke 14:25 NLT
Great crowds were following Jesus. He turned around and said to them, “If you want to be my follower you must love me more than your own father, mother, wife, children, brothers and sisters—yes, more than your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. And you cannot be my disciple if you do not carry your own cross and follow me. But don’t begin until you count the cost!“
There is really no easy way to say this. Following Jesus Christ as your Lord will be the most arduous, difficult thing you ever do in your life. It will cost you. You will suffer tremendously. There will be permanent scars. Your devotion to Jesus Christ will be tested time and time again. It will bring ridicule, hostility, vitriol, false accusations, disdain and hatred from many people, including at times, some closest to you. You will have a cross to carry for the rest of your life. You’ll have to endure persecution from the world, but also from some Christians and religious people. You’ll be misunderstood, misjudged, rejected, vilified, disrespected and dishonored. You’ll suffer betrayal, humiliation and abandonment. There will be seasons of mental and emotional anguish and torment. At times you will feel like you’re going to die.
You must love Jesus Christ more than a good reputation, more than friendships, or other human relationships. You must love Jesus Christ more than the pleasures of this world, more than money, more than fame, more than being liked and admired by other people. You must live only for the Audience of One!
You must be willing to suffer hardships, loss, difficult circumstances, afflictions, infirmities, trials and tribulations. You must learn to deny yourself. You must embrace the suffering that comes as a result of your passionate devotion to Jesus Christ and see it as a great privilege and blessing to endure for his sake.
You must learn to see through the eyes of faith that true, meaningful life is found only by losing your life for the sake of following Jesus Christ.
As I celebrate my 67th birthday, I reflect deeply on these monumental truths that defined the last 48 years of my life. I can honestly say I counted the cost, it has been worth every price paid. I remain a passionate disciple of Jesus Christ. Even as I write this, I am still paying the cost.
The best decision I ever made, indeed the most costly decision I ever made, was to become a true disciple of Jesus Christ, paying whatever price he asked of me to follow Him. I would do it all over again, and again, and again.
All for Christ! All I’ve Got! Till the very end! This is my Creed.
2 Timothy 3:12 NIV
In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted!
Matt. 5:1-12, Luke 6:22-23 Berkeley
Blessed are you when they slander and persecute you and falsely accuse you of every wrong because of me. Blessed are you when people hate you and exclude you and denounce and defame your name as wicked on account of the Son of Man. Be glad at such a time and leap for joy, for in heaven your reward is rich! For in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Helping you become a Strong Disciple,
Because of Jesus,
Pastor Mark Darling