Mike Focht 11/24/2023
The Bible is clear that there is a cost to following Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was clear about the reality of a cost to those following Him. Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”
The Scriptures are clear about the reality of self-denial and self-mortification, but that is not the whole story. Some people talk about the Christian life as nothing more than constant death. The Christian does more than die. The Christian also lives. We surrender one type of life but find a different kind of life. We carry our cross just like Jesus carried His, and as followers of Christ, our story does not end at the cross.
To tell only one side of the story is to do a positive disservice to the message of Christ. The Bible contains pictures of this cost-and-reward path for the Christ-follower. In our path of denial and crucifixion, we also find an incredible life of faith, hope, and love.
Every chip of God’s chisel lands with a jarring impact and removes excess weight.
Every pruning cut of the True Vinedresser hurts our quivering flesh but lessens striving and produces greater fruit.
Every moment in God’s consuming fire burns, but it also brightens and purifies.
The Potter’s hands shed and pull and push the clay resulting in less of us but more of Him.
Daily we are given to slaughter like sheep, but the scent of the morning and evening sacrifices is pleasing to Him.
The spoiling and sacrifice of our goods and lands here on earth lead to the reward and deposit of eternal treasure in heaven.
We surrender life in exchange for life more abundant.
We are called to mortify our flesh and carry our cross as we follow Christ here. There is an actual cost, surrender, and sacrifice to that process. Jesus Christ clearly stated that reality because that is how the Christian life is, not merely how the Christian life should be. But Jesus was also clear that the process did not end with loss but gain. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.
The Biblical truth Jesus explained to His disciples is taught in various ways throughout the Scriptures. Let me give you a simple summary. Following Jesus is not always easy, but it is always worth it. That is the promise Jesus gives to every man and woman who desires to follow Him. Jesus lived a life that was not easy but was eternally worth it!
This truth can be joyously known and experienced by every faithful follower of Christ. In the thousands of daily crucifixions of our flesh, we will also pass through to a thousand resurrections and a thousand ascensions through the veil into the glory of God’s presence. Then like Jesus, and because of Jesus, we too will experience our final cost, our true resurrection, and our eternal glory. There is a day when our cost in Christ ends. There is no day when our life in Christ ends.
So when Jesus looks back to His followers today, He still calls them to count the cost and to remember His promises. We do well when subtracting the proper debits but must not forget to add the valid credits. The Christian does more than die. He also lives life free, victorious, and abundant in Christ!
Do you feel a deep desire to know this type of life? Well then, listen to Him who paid the price and now offers it: I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts.