“Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after Me cannot be my disciple…For which of you, wanting to build a tower, doesn’t first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it?” -Luke 15:27-28
In the past, every time I came across one of Jesus’ statements like this, I trembled. Was I really bearing my own cross? Was I truly following Him? At the same time, I was afraid of the immensity of the call of giving up everything to follow Him. Is it really worth it?
However, in the midst of my trembling and fear, I found great hope. I call these statements the seeming paradoxes of Christ. We are called to die, but find true life in God. We are called to deny ourselves, but find our true selves in Christ.
We are called to bear our own cross and come after Him who bore our sins and transgressions on his cross. In bearing our own cross (the difficulties that will come in following Jesus), we are united with the One who satisfies our deepest needs of forgiveness and reconciliation with God. As we bear our cross, we become more and more like Him and experience more of Him. The call to deny ourselves is to identify ourselves with Christ, the One who has loved us and sacrificed Himself on our behalf. The call to die to ourselves is an invitation to enter a new relationship with God and become a new creation in Christ. These commands aren’t dead ends, they are means to the great end of God Himself. We must count the cost. But the cost is minuscule in comparison to the eternal, immeasurable benefits we receive!
- Write down anything that is more important than forgiveness of sins, God as Father, Christ as Savior, heaven as our destination, the Spirit as our guide, peace, joy, satisfaction, and relationship with God. (I’m hoping you and I both will end up with blank pages!)
- Consider the cost of following Christ. Consider the immeasurable benefits. Consider also the cost of not following Christ (in the end- you lose everything).
- Choose this day whom you will serve!
“King Jesus, I confess that there is no cost too great to keep me from following You. Help me to follow You all of my days, regardless of the cost.”