It Hurts So Good: “The Cost of Following Jesus”

It Hurts So Good: “The Cost of Following Jesus”

by Executive Director, Rob Appel

 

       While on a spiritual retreat in the lodge of Camp Paul Hummel last fall, God spoke to me through an old familiar book. I picked up a copy of My Utmost For His Highest by Oswald Chambers, and opened it to one of the pages. It turns out it was one of the 12 dog-eared pages of that copy. This month is number nine in a series from this great devotional.

 

As they were going along the road, someone said to Him, “I will follow You wherever You go.” And Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” And He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.” But He said to him, “Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God.” Another also said, “I will follow You, Lord; but first permit me to say good-bye to those at home.” But Jesus said to him, “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:57-62 NASB)

 

Oswald Chambers writes, “The words of the Lord hurt and offend until there is nothing left to be hurt or offended. Jesus Christ had no tenderness whatsoever toward anything that was ultimately going to ruin a person in his service to God. Our Lord’s answers were not based on some whim or impulsive thought, but on the knowledge of ‘what was in man.’ If the Spirit of God brings to your mind a word of the Lord that hurts you, you can be sure that there is something in you that He wants to hurt to the point of its death.”

Jesus’ words are strong. He is telling the people, “Here is what it will cost you to follow after me. Bottom line: it will cost you EVERYTHING.” Jesus summons us to commit ourselves completely to Him, and hold nothing back!

Market researcher George Barna has collected data and trends of Christians and the church for over 25 years. One of the trends shows that North Americans are showing a much more limited or softer commitment to faith. Barna explains, “Americans are willing to expend some energy in religious activities such as attending church and reading the Bible, and they are willing to throw some money in the offering basket. Because of such activities, they convince themselves that they are people of genuine faith.”

People want to be “spiritual”—they even want to have God’s favor—but they don’t want Him taking control of their lives. After all, we have “an image” to maintain and outcomes to control. The outcome is less than a full commitment to Jesus Christ.

Jesus’ response to each of the individuals in the Luke passage reflects the idea that a true commitment requires a great sacrifice! Commitment to Jesus:

  1. requires a willingness to put aside worldly security.
  2. must take precedent even when it competes with other loyalties.
  3. involves us stepping out on faith to serve Him, without looking back.
  4. means total dedication, not halfhearted commitment.

 

Jesus says to these men on the road: “Count the cost.” But if you were to consider the Cost of not following Jesus it would mean:
– NO ETERNAL LIFE
– NO HOLY SPIRIT GUIDANCE
– NO OPPORTUNITY TO GLORIFY GOD

 

What about you? Has the Holy Spirit convicted you of something that hurts because it is so true? It will hurt for a while. But if you listen and change from this, it can hurt so GOOD!

 

Next time: “The Ordinary

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