“But don’t begin until you count the cost.” (Luke 14:28)
While the gift of salvation is free by God’s grace, meaning, there’s nothing in our strength that allowed us to have salvation; however, the cost of following Jesus is everything. Jesus instructs us to count the cost of following him before we make him our Lord and Savior.
We can often think that if Jesus costs us everything to follow, then why would I follow him? It’s better for me to not pay anything and not follow him; however, the wages of sin is death. This means that when we live life the way we want to, we live it imperfectly and we sin the ultimate judgment of our sin is death.
When we decide to follow Jesus and have him forgive us for our sins, then we no longer have to pay that cost because Jesus paid it with his blood. However, that will also cost us to follow him.
A major principle of our relationship with Jesus is found in the word redemption. Redemption literally means that a slave was bought and once the slave was bought, then the slave was freed; however, the slave was still bought. We are redeemed from sin by Jesus’s life. We were bought at the cost of Jesus sacrificing himself. However, Jesus owns us once we’ve paid this cost. That’s the legal way of looking at how it works with the judgment of sin.
The devil wants us to think that when we live life, the way we want to live, then we have the best pleasures. However, if you look at the fruit of us living our own lives, you can see that there’s pain, sorrow, depression, brokenness, and trauma. When we live life the way that God has designed us and destined us to be, that’s when we find joy, peace, patience, kindness, long-suffering, self-control and more the best things in life come from following Jesus who created us. The worst things in life come from following us, the way we want to live. This is a great deception.
Let’s study the Bible and see what it costs to follow Jesus and at the end of this, let’s ask ourselves, are we willing to pay it? But let’s also know that if we don’t pay it, then we will always be living in the pain that we are living in and the unfulfillment that we are living in. We will always be living in the cycles that our parents have lived in and the cycles that we live in. We will never break free and really walk in the freedom that we have always wanted and the joy that we have always wanted unless we follow Jesus.
Whenever we live for ourselves, we’re only living for this age. Whenever we live for Jesus, we are living for something greater. We want to live for the greatest joy that is set before us, not simply just for this age. This requires faith to understand.
Luke 14:27 (TPT) And anyone who comes to me must be willing to share my cross and experience it as his own, or he cannot be considered to be my disciple.
The cross was a torture device. Whenever we think about carrying our cross, we have to think about it, it’s not meant to be jewelry or something that we can wear around our neck. The cross was always seen as something that was devastatingly terrifying. However, we knew that beyond that cross was an eternity, something much greater than this life.
We have to have an eternal perspective when we think about Jesus. If we don’t have an eternal perspective, then we won’t be able to see why we need to follow Jesus. If we live that way, we live short-sighted. If we live with eternity in mind, then everything else makes sense.
The world will make you want to believe that nothing exists beyond this point. Science fiction movies action movies books and other secular studies will tell us that after this point, nothing exists; however, that is a great lie. For us to say that nothing exists beyond this point is to say that God doesn’t exist. To say that God doesn’t exist is to say that we created ourselves, which is not what the Bible teaches us. God teaches us that we cannot understand this unless we have faith. And there are different types of soil when we think about faith.
Mark four teaches us that there are certain types of soil that when they hear it, nothing happens. There’s another type of soil that when someone hears it, but then it doesn’t take root. So anytime an obstacle or warfare comes, then it’s taken away. Another kind of soil is someone that hears it, but then bears 30, 60, and 100 fold. This is the type of soil that we want to be. We want to be soil that when God sows a seed, it’s 30, 60, a hundredfold. That is a choice, a voluntary choice and we have to have faith in Jesus.
It takes faith and great boldness to live this type of lifestyle. However, anyone can have it regardless of their education or financial status, regardless of their family upbringing or their family legacy. Everyone can start with 30, 60, and 100-fold soil if they so choose to wholeheartedly believe that Jesus is real and can forgive them for their sin.
Luke 14:28-33 (NLT) “But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. They would say, ‘There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’ “Or what king would go to war against another king without first sitting down with his counselors to discuss whether his army of 10,000 could defeat the 20,000 soldiers marching against him? And if he can’t, he will send a delegation to discuss terms of peace while the enemy is still far away. So you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own.
God tells us to count the cost of the foundation that it will be for us to walk out of our relationship with him. The world teaches us a foundation, mainly based on entertainment and our feelings of what we want to happen. This leads us into adultery, affairs, addictions, vices, overeating; ultimately, activities that can never fulfill us. That’s not our foundation. God teaches us that as we follow him, he will lay a foundation. However, this foundation will be choosing purity with the strength of the Holy Spirit. It will be choosing a lifestyle of holiness with the strength of the Holy Spirit, and it will be choosing to control our tongues with the strength of the Holy Spirit.
When we live the way that God tells us to live, then we learn how to live in joy and rest. When we choose to live in the way that the world teaches us, then we are constantly filled with stress and anxiety, always filled with trying to protect ourselves and provide for ourselves. Yet, if we live the way that God calls us to live, then we find that peace. Because joy, peace, patience, and the fruit of the Holy Spirit are what allow us to live from that place of rest.
If you look at the works of the flesh, which are debauchery, dissension, and being two-faced or duplicitous, these types of things always add stress. Think about it: when we live a double life, how much stress do we have? When we live a life of lies, how much stress do we have? When we live a life where we’re constantly having to be addicted to fill a void, how much stress do we have? Living in the works of the flesh causes us to be anxious and never fulfilled; while living in the fruit of the spirit allows us to live from rest and joy and a light burden with Jesus.
God also says that following him is like a commander who looks at the cost of the war. When we follow Jesus, there is warfare, it’s promised in the Bible; however, what’s also promised is victory. Because Jesus has defeated Satan at the cross, sin can no longer conquer us, but we need to know that that warfare will be there.
Satan will try to do everything to destroy our lives and our walk with Jesus. He will attack our family, he’ll attack our finances, he’ll attack our jobs, he’ll attack everything in this life so that we can’t see Jesus in our life. He’ll make us focus on temporal things so that we forget about the eternal reward, that rest before us.
We have to know that when we follow Jesus it will not only cost us everything but it will also be an ongoing war for our souls to turn away from God and turn back to Satan. We have to know that Jesus is worth it. Jesus is worth far more than any war that Satan can ever throw at us. Here’s a personal example. Before I met Jesus, my life was filled with addiction, immorality, violence, anger, trauma, brokenness, and dysfunction. I never thought that my life would ever be in a place where I could raise a family, and become a dad, and a faithful husband. However, once I started following Jesus, he said that he would become my father. As I learned more about the word, I saw that this became true. Now, my life is no longer destined to be in jail or dead, but my life is destined to be a faithful husband and a loving father. That transformation is only possible because God allowed it to be.
However, for me to get from living a lifestyle of violence to a lifestyle of love, not only cost me everything but, also, I had to persevere the warfare and persecution against the devil to get there. Until now I am still following Jesus faithfully, and I am still in warfare as a missionary. However, the joy that I have is greater than any drug, any vice, or any pleasure this world can ever have.
Solomon also teaches that in the book of Ecclesiastes. Solomon was one that had every single pleasure that any person can ever desire. At the end of his life, he taught in the book of Ecclesiastes that there is no pleasure greater than following God. Everything else is vanity of vanities. He told us at the end of Ecclesiastes that we should follow God with all of our heart and obey his commands and this will bring us fulfillment in our life.
Verse 28 also speaks about following God as constructing a house. But if you don’t make a house with a blueprint and also an estimation of the budget, then you won’t be able to finish the house. When you don’t finish the house, then everyone will see that you don’t finish the house. And this is the same thing when we see Christians who are following God, but later on, not. They didn’t count the cost of what it would take to really finish the race.
We want to be disciples of Jesus that knows that this will not only cost everything, but it will also cost us persevering through everything to do it.
We must own our call with Jesus and not rely on the world or our circumstances to dictate how much we follow God or for how long we follow God. From the beginning, we must know that we’ll cost everything and we must own everything that we need to follow Jesus Christ. We must own our call to follow God and we must own the cost to follow God. That is a price that nobody else can pay.
Our relationship with Jesus Christ is a two-way street. He, in his grace, has saved us from our sins and he has done nothing wrong. Our side of the relationship is that we must voluntarily give our lives so that we can receive this blessing from Jesus. However, it’s a win-win situation. When we follow God, we are ultimately fulfilled, when we don’t not only are we unfulfilled, but we are also eternally damned to hell.
Jesus asked, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” Then he pointed to his disciples and said, “Look, these are my mother and brothers. Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother!” (Matthew 12:48-50)
When we follow Jesus, sometimes our family is the number one place that we get warfare. Our family in the world can often contradict our family with God.
We must know from the beginning that our spiritual family with God is going to supersede our physical family on earth. Meaning that if our family is telling us to not obey God, we can no longer follow that as disciples of God. We must follow the complete obedience and command of God as our Lord and Savior.
Lord literally means ‘Lord, Lord, over everything.’ We often want to think of Jesus as our savior from sin, but we don’t want to think of him as the Lord over our lives. Our family cannot be the Lord over our lives. The Lord over our life now is only Jesus. This is a cost that we must be ready to pay.
Jesus himself also paid this cost. He told everyone else that the ones that his family are the ones that follow the Father in heaven. He even referred to his own mother and said that she is not his family unless she follows the Father in heaven and this is from the words of Jesus.
Why Does Jesus Refuse To See His Mother And Brothers?
We have to ask ourselves if our parents told us to deny Jesus, are we willing to say no? If our parents told us to not love like God, are we willing to disobey them? Now, while we are commanded to honor our parents, we are not called to have them as our gods. And that’s a cost that we will have to pay, especially in the context where our family does not follow Jesus.
Thousands of people around the world every day are persecuted by their own families and different nations, especially in Muslim, Buddhist, and Hindu countries. Whenever someone becomes a disciple of people or groups, often they are exiled or killed in their family. This is the cost that they had.
During the Roman times when you followed Jesus, in the book of Acts, you would be persecuted or crucified, that was the cost of following Jesus. Today, that is still the cost of following Jesus, spiritually, or physically. We cannot lower the standard of following Jesus because we think that it’s anti-cultural or disobedient to our family.
We must realize that the gospel is this bold. The gospel is this true, and the gospel requires this much ownership.
Drop Your Nets, And Follow Me
Matthew 4:18-22 (NLT) One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers—Simon, also called Peter, and Andrew—throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” And they left their nets at once and followed him. A little farther up the shore he saw two other brothers, James and John, sitting in a boat with their father, Zebedee, repairing their nets. And he called them to come, too. They immediately followed him, leaving the boat and their father behind.
When Jesus called the fishermen, he called them from their family business. That was all of their income. Before Jesus called them, they had the greatest cash they’d ever had. Then Jesus said, “Come with me and I’ll make you fishers of men.”
If Jesus was only about our abundance financially, he would have let them stay as fishers of fish. However, Jesus cared more about advancing the kingdom and eternity. That’s why he called them to be fishers of men after they had the greatest day in their family business.
Not only did they leave the greatest day of their family business, but they also left their family business. Meaning that God will sometimes call us to leave the careers that our family intended us to have, or leave a promotion that we may have earned or may have gotten.
However, we know that if God has told us to leave something, it’s because he has something greater for us that he knows as our Father in heaven.
The kingdom of heaven is greater than the kingdom of earth. No matter what we get on earth through our careers or with our finances, God always has something better for us that will last longer than anything this earth can provide.
God says to store up our treasures in heaven, where moths and rust and robbers cannot destroy it or take it away. When something is in heaven, nothing can take it away. We must put our trust and only that, which cannot be taken away from us.
No Place To Lay Your Head
Luke 9:57-58 (NLT) As they were walking along, someone said to Jesus, “I will follow you wherever you go.” But Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head.”
God will often challenge us when we follow him with what we struggle with the most. When God spoke in verses 57 through 58, he knew he was talking to somebody who desired comfort. When we follow God, it’s not just one thing or the other, it’s often everything and he will challenge us on what is hardest for us to let go of.
We cannot let go of comfort in our own strength. We can only let go of comfort and any other idol in our life with the strength of the Holy Spirit. This is the promise that God has for us, that there is no sin or temptation that we cannot overtake with the power of God.
We cannot let comfort be our God, we cannot let security be our God, and we cannot let prosperity be our God. God is God and God stands alone. While we follow God, God’s desire is to prosper us. This prosperity doesn’t always mean physical. In fact, the prosperity of God, first, is spiritual then it is shown physically, but not all the time.
We cannot place following God only on the fact that we will be physically blessed. When we follow God, we know that it will always result in us being abundantly, blessed spiritually and maybe physically. But even if we are not blessed, physically, we cannot allow that to stop us from following Jesus.
We can often think about situations in our life where God called us to give something away go somewhere that we didn’t want to or do something that was uncomfortable. That is a challenge from God to see how much we actually do love him wholeheartedly. God will test our hearts like that. Every day is an opportunity to see if we will choose the God of comfort over the God that created everything.
Let The Dead Bury The Dead
Luke 9:59-62 (NLT) He said to another person, “Come, follow me.” The man agreed, but he said, “Lord, first let me return home and bury my father.” But Jesus told him, “Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead! Your duty is to go and preach about the Kingdom of God.” Another said, “Yes, Lord, I will follow you, but first let me say good-bye to my family.” But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.”
In this passage, Jesus was dealing with somebody who wanted to receive an inheritance from their family. Once they received the inheritance from their family, they knew that they would be secure. An inheritance from the family must’ve been something they thought about for years to come and now was the time that it was close to coming. However, Jesus even challenged that.
We are not to have our security in the world or anything that the world provides. Our security is supposed to be solely in Jesus Christ. While Jesus gives us the wisdom to live in this world, financially, physically, relationally, and more, it’s not supposed to be the source of our security. We should know the source of our security comes from Jesus.
Jesus was challenging this person to see if he would come and follow Jesus as the source of his security and his inheritance, not his parents.
We also have to ask ourselves, is there any inheritance from the world, whether through our parents or something else that is stopping us from following God? We cannot allow the source of our inheritance or security to be from anything else besides Jesus.
We can often think that our education is our security, our degree is our security, our savings is our security, our knowledge is our security, and our health is our security, but all of these things will fade. All of it is the vanity of vanities. The only security we have is Jesus. And as Jesus provides these things, then we can trust in him more. But even if these things are taken away, our trust should not be shaken.
Pick Up Your Cross Daily
Luke 9:23-25 (NLT)Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me.If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed?
How often are we supposed to pick up our cross and follow Jesus? Every day is what it says. Every day, we are called to make this decision to pick up our cross die to ourselves, and live as new creations in Jesus Christ.
Again, true fulfillment comes when we are dead to our old selves and alive in who Jesus destined us to be. We will never be able to fulfill ourselves. Jesus is the only one that can do that.
The cross was used as a metaphor because the cross was excruciatingly painful. We must expect that giving up our old selves will have a place of supernatural freedom, but there’ll also be a place where we have to fight for the breakthrough. This is what it means to pick up the cross, the torture device. It’s not going to be easy and although God can give us a breakthrough more than often, we have to persevere for it.
Whenever we try and hang on to our life, we will lose it. Meaning that the more we try and hang on to things besides God, the more we’re going to give up the things he’s trying to give to us. We can only have one God in our hearts. If the world is our God, we no longer have space for God to be our God. We have to completely subtract ourselves from the world in order to have God fully take the throne of our hearts.
If we hold on to the world, we know that we will be destroyed; that’s the promise of God. Because the world itself and everything that is in it will be destroyed. The only thing that will remain is what is God? Why would we try and trust in something we know will fade?
It’s very easy for some people to invest in things that will last 10, 20, or 30 years, but sometimes it’s more difficult when we start thinking about 100, 1,000, or 10,000 years in the future. Because without faith, we have no grid for that. When we invest in God, we are not thinking about 10, 20, or 30 years in the future, but we are thinking about 30,000, or 100,000 years into the future. God is an eternal investment, not a temporal investment. That’s why he’s the greatest investment to have.
Anything that we give up will always have eternal dividends. It’s a promise of God that eternity is much greater than this test of this temporal age.
Anyone Who Is Ashamed of Me
Luke 9:26-27 (NLT) If anyone is ashamed of me and my message, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in his glory and in the glory of the Father and the holy angels. I tell you the truth, some standing here right now will not die before they see the Kingdom of God.”
Not only are we called to live this life of constantly picking up our cross, but we were called to be bold about it. The spiritual life is not a secret life. The spiritual life is a bold life without shame for whom we follow.
More than 40% of Christians today think that evangelism is offensive according to Barna Research. Meaning that the church itself is already becoming anti-biblical when it comes to being bold about who we are.
When we think about boldness, we often think about not having love. We think about the person who is condemning everybody to hell, or we think about the person who is operating in their own selfish pride. However, God is love. We should always be thinking about boldness with the greatest good of other people.
We should also know that if we are not boldly, proclaiming who God is and who we worship, then he will also be ashamed of us. He will not boldly proclaim that we are followers of God on judgment day; he will instead say that we are not. Our boldness is the response that we must have if we want God to proclaim us with eternal life to the Father in heaven. If we are ashamed of Jesus, he will be ashamed of us; that’s the written Word of God.
May we truly count the cost of following Jesus. While the price is high, the reward is far greater. When we give up our lives for His sake, we gain eternal life. Though the road is difficult, Jesus walks with us every step of the journey. He will give us the strength to carry our cross daily.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author, and perfecter of our faith. He will lead us to our true home in heaven if we remain faithful to Him. Do not be ashamed to live for Him. Proclaim His name boldly! The day will come when Jesus will proudly declare before the Father that we are His disciples.
May the truth of God’s Word compel us to a life of full surrender and sacrifice. We have counted the cost, now let us live with eternity in view. Our labor in the Lord is never in vain. Stay strong, stand firm, keep the faith! God bless you as you pick up your cross daily and follow Christ.
How Do I Pick Up My Cross Daily?
- Count the cost of what it really means to follow Jesus. Don’t count the costs with your own ability, but count the costs with faith. Are you willing to pay the price of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus?
- What are the greatest obstacles that you have in following Jesus? Don’t lie to yourself, but be real. Jesus will challenge you on your greatest idol and he will ask you to give it up to be his disciple. God wants all of your life not part of it. Are you willing to give up all of it?
- Think about your life without Jesus. Think about what you will look like in 10, or 20 years if you don’t have love and sin is your leader. Now think about your life as if Jesus is your God and what your life would look like if you were free from sin and you loved like him. What are the differences between the two lives? Which one do you want to live in?
- Are you willing to be a disciple of Jesus? Have you counted the cost? Are you willing to do it? Have you prayed the prayer, but are you also willing to live the life?