The cost of not following Christ

Sunday LeftoversJesus tells His followers to consider the cost of following Him:

“If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.” (Luke 14:26–33; NASB)

There is a cost to following Christ.  There are demands that will be made.  There will be sacrifice and loss. An individual would be unwise not to consider those costs.

But a man who builds a tower considers more than the cost of building that tower.  He also includes the benefits — will he be able to recover his costs in business that is transacted through that tower?  Will there be pleasures that he can enjoy only because of the tower?  Or the king in battle not only considers the size of his army, but also the benefit of the treasures seized in plunder from the opposing country. And he considers the safety he renders for his country.  And he reckons the cost of inaction even if he is outnumbered.

So the follower of Christ rightly and wisely follows Jesus’ counsel and considers whether he is willing to sacrifice life and all to follow Jesus.  But he also counts up the benefits of following Christ — what will he receive in following Christ and does that not outweigh whatever costs he pays in being a servant of his Savior?

When he considers obedience to Christ he discovers:

  • Christ is a yoke that brings rest and peace (Mt. 11:29-30)
  • His exchange is the momentary and light for the eternal and weighty and the temporal for the eternal (2 Cor. 4:16-18)
  • Obedience to Christ is slavery, but it is a liberating and freeing enslavement (John 8:3-36; Rom. 6:20-22)
  • A knowledge that is light and life instead of darkness and vanity (Eph. 4:17-20)
  • Goodness and truth and righteousness that pleases the Lord (Eph. 5:9-11)
  • The Spirit can liberate him from the flesh to love others (Gal. 5:13-26)

When he considers the Scriptures, he finds that the Bible repeatedly affirms the wisdom of following God and Christ:

One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the LORD
And to meditate in His temple. (Ps. 27:4)

O taste and see that the LORD is good;
How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!
O fear the LORD, you His saints;
For to those who fear Him there is no want.
The young lions do lack and suffer hunger;
But they who seek the LORD shall not be in want of any good thing. (Ps. 34:8-10)

Better is the little of the righteous
Than the abundance of many wicked.
For the arms of the wicked will be broken,
But the LORD sustains the righteous.
The LORD knows the days of the blameless,
And their inheritance will be forever. (Psa. 37:16-18)

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge;
Fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Prov. 1:7)

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.…The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen. (2 Tim. 4:6-8, 18)

There is a cost to following Christ.  Consider it wisely.  But as you consider Christ, also count the (infinite) benefits of following Christ.

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