Read His Words Before Ours!
“Yes, but it’s going to cost you.”
Have you heard a version of this phrase, if not those exact words?
I have. Sometimes it’s said with the humor of a friend; other times, it has been spoken with all seriousness.
We understand it from a monetary sense pretty easily. Do I have the money needed to buy this? How much do I need or want said item, and what am I willing to do to ensure I can make the payment?
But do we grasp the concept of cost beyond dollar signs?
Do we recognize cost is involved in every decision we make?
Beyond that, do we recognize we are changed by every decision we make?
In the business world, return on investment, otherwise known as ROI, is a recurrent phrase. Will an investment provide a return that is worth the cost of the investment?
Will our investment of following Jesus provide a valuable return?
Suppose following Jesus cost us nothing?
Cost is significant.
Upon reflection, I honestly cannot think of a time when cost was not connected to change in my character or life.
Even when I’ve received a free gift, I am aware of the significant cost to the giver.
Cost is always involved.
With these thoughts swirling through my mind, I sat down to write this study.
What if following Jesus cost us nothing?
If my brain were a literal computer, I would be receiving an error message. In fact, my mind is unable to compute that sentence, and I think of the movie Mean Girls, in which a character says, “The limit does not exist” during math class.
We’re either following Jesus, or we’re leading ourselves.
We’re seeking His kingdom, or we’re building our own.
We’re either counting the cost to follow Him, or we’re not investing.
Adam and Eve chose to invest in the words of the serpent and we are still reaping the returns on their investment. From the very beginning of time, cost has been at play.
Our relationships with Jesus are no different.
The Bible says a difficult road and narrow gate are the way to heaven. Narrow means lots of decisions are involved in staying the course. Narrow means potentially being misunderstood by those walking the broad paths. Narrow means uncomfortable seasons and various invitations for growth.
Narrow means there will be a cost,
and the final return on investment is Heaven.
But what if…
following Jesus cost us nothing?
We willingly pay out for what we view as valuable.
If we aren’t willing to pay, we deem the value as worthless.
Eternity with Jesus is a pretty significant return on investment, and motivates many people to choose to trust Him. However, Heaven is not the only return we receive when we truly follow the Lord.
Galatians 5:22-24 highlights the fruit of the Spirit, and outlines the cost of their cultivation. When we “crucify the flesh with its passions and desires,” we allow the Spirit to move within us and He pours out love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
The brutal language describing the cost of following Jesus boldly declares to us that holiness, not happiness, is the aim of the Christian life. The way of change, the way of transformation, the narrow way of daily putting to death the sin nature wrapped around our spirits since Adam and Eve’s initial investment . . . this is the way of great cost.
We gladly pay the cost because the benefit far outweighs the price tag of surrendering self to the Savior who gave Himself wholly for us, choosing to hold nothing back. (2 Corinthians 4:17)
Whole surrender is the way of Jesus, who sacrificed everything from His human body to His very existence in community with the Father.
This is the way of Jesus-followers, who are called to walk in His footsteps by picking up our own crosses.
Oh yes, the cost is great.
But the reward, “the joy set before [us],” Jesus assures us, is far greater.
For in return for Jesus’ sacrifice, we receive redemption, the knitting back together of our spirits once torn apart by the claws of our sinful choices.
In return for our costly sacrifice, we become more like Him, the One who sacrificed all for our redemption.
Thus, not only do we know Him more deeply, but we reflect Him more clearly to the searching world around us.
“Come,” our lives say, “Here is the One who can breathe healing and life into your shattered soul.”
Finally, in Ephesians 6:10-18, we learn how God equips and sustains us through the attacks we will experience during our days on earth. The Lord does not leave us alone until we get to heaven. He is faithfully with us, teaching us how to navigate this lifetime. Again, the benefit of never being alone or ill-equipped adds to the value of following Jesus with our whole lives.
We have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us, we have the Word of God to read and learn, and we have the Heavenly Father loving us deeply. The Lord’s love is infinite and His mercies are new every morning.
While the sacrifices and challenges involved in following Jesus are quite costly, the ROIs of following Christ are infinite. I will gladly invest to gain Christ and heaven for eternity, and to point others to His open arms during my time on earth.
I am so very grateful that following Christ costs me something.
This is a gift I can never repay.
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!