When I was a little girl there were only three channels on television. If I happened to stay home from school due to sickness, I would enjoy some Sprite, saltine crackers, and The Price is Right on one of those channels. As a little eight-year-old girl, I possessed minimal knowledge about the cost of a washer and dryer set, much less the cost of a “shiny brand new car!” yet that did not diminish the joy of watching the contestants jumping up and down as they estimated correct prices.
My lack in counting the cost of household appliances wasn’t a detriment to my third-grade life. Though, as an adult, counting the cost isn’t something I can be ignorant about.
If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? Luke 9:23-25
What price would be right for you to give your life in order to follow Jesus?
Dietrich Bonhoeffer counted following Christ priceless. So did the ten Boom sisters, and countless other faithfuls who preceded us in life. How were they so courageous? How did they love Jesus so wholly that their lives meant nothing to them?
Jesus gives us the right price in the above Scripture: deny ourselves, take up our cross daily, and follow Him. Whether we face the gallows or gunpoint, or whether we remain in our comfortable lifestyles, we must lose our lives. This is the very cost of discipleship: dying to ourselves.
In order for us to stand firm in the faith, and be brave and strong, we must agree with John the Baptist, who proclaimed that Jesus must increase and he must decrease. We are on the cusp of change in our country. More people are hostile towards the Lord and His word. If we profess Him as Christ, if we believe His word is true, and if we live according to His commands, we will be disliked, perhaps hated, and possibly persecuted. How will we stand in those days if our profession is spoken only, but not lived?
We must count the cost of following Jesus. We must believe He is more priceless than our comfort, our political agendas, our rights, anything. As we practice denying ourselves and taking up our crosses daily, we will be strengthened in the might of His Spirit as we follow Him.
What might this look like? The possibilities are endless, but may include not murmuring when serving others or opening our homes; not playing victim when someone hurts our feelings or life is genuinely difficult; loving our husbands, our children, our friends, our enemies; letting go of grievances, refusing to replay that ‘script’ in our minds of how we were wronged; or, choosing to obey and look like a weirdo because no one else (even some in the church) is taking the Bible THAT seriously.
As He was about to face His final hours, Jesus said to His Father, “I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.” Wouldn’t it be amazing to say this at the end of our lives? As we live out our profession of faith in Christ, we will glorify Him as we deny ourselves.
There is a cost in following Jesus in this short moment in time, but in light of eternity, it is priceless.