For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? (Luke 14:28, KJV)
How much does it costs? We always consider the price of products and services when we are contemplating a purchase. In this holiday season, most of us are spending a little cash on family and friends. I think we all sometimes wish we could spend a little more on our loved ones than what our bank accounts will allow. But regardless of our emotions, we always consider the costs.
Usually whenever we think of the costs of the cross, we think of the price that Christ paid for us. The birth and crucifixion of Christ was for the outstanding debt of sin that we owed. Under Mosaic Law, there is no way we could atone for our sins... the price was too great. But when Christ died for us, He paid it all. We are debt free to sin because of His ultimate sacrifice. Thank God that we aren't indebted to pay for the costs of sin due to His grace.
However, if we choose to follow Christ, we must bare our cross. But what does that mean? What does it mean to bare our own cross? And how much does it costs to bare our cross?
To bare your own cross is to do a few things. It is to follow the two most important commandments, which is to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul and mind and to love our neighbors as ourselves. It is to deny our flesh daily by opting to walk in the spirit. But the primary costs of the cross is to forsake everything and everyone to follow Christ. This may not seem like much of a costs on the surface, until Christ explains the level of commitment you must have towards Him.
And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.
(Luke 9:59-62, KJV)
The costs of the cross is to give up everything to follow Christ. Christ told this man that following Him superseded his desire to bury his father. Christ told the other gentleman that following Him was more important than biding his family farewell. These two gentleman had the opportunity of not only their lifetime but of all lifetimes to follow God in the flesh. There was nothing and never will be anything more important than following God, including family. Christ reiterated this point in Luke 14.
If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
(Luke 14: 26- 27, KJV)
Christ did not mean to literally hate your family for His sake. Rather He meant that you must be willing to forsake your loved ones for His sake if necessary. Jesus Himself as a child told his own mother and father that He was about His father's business when they questioned His whereabouts (Luke 2:49). As an adult when Christ was preaching to a crowd, his mother and brother were looking for Him. Christ responded that His mother and brother were those who hear the Word of God, and do it (Luke 8:21). Basically, Christ made it crystal clear that doing the will of God and following God was more important than anyone and everything. It is more important than our mother, father, children, lovers, and ourselves.
So, what's the costs of the cross? The costs is putting God and His will before everything and everyone. We have to be willing to forsake all that we have, otherwise, we are not worthy to be called followers of Christ (Luke:14:33). The costs of the cross may prove too expensive for some. Yet, you must consider the benefits behind the costs. No one ever pays a costs without expecting benefits in return.
When you follow Christ, you are following someone who can give you the fruits of the spirit, which include but are not limited to: love, joy, peace, and happiness. When you follow Christ, the same power that rose Christ from the dead is the same power that can reside in you (Romans 8:11). When you follow Christ, you are following someone who can do exceedingly and abundantly above all you ask or think. There are so many benefits to following Christ, that I may need to compose another article dedicated solely to the benefits of following Christ... umm, I think I smell a new blog post on the horizon.
But this particular post is to help you understand what exactly it means to bare your cross and follow Christ. It comes with a costs. Putting Christ first means just that. We must forsake our own flesh, as well as anyone or anything that stands in the way of following our Lord and Savior. It means Christ over everything, no exceptions.
Yet, the more you experience Christ, the more willing you are to pay that cost. The more you understand His grace, His love and His plan for you, the more you realize that the cost of the cross is a steal. It's the bargain of a lifetime. No Black Friday deal could stand a chance. The most awesome part about this costs is unlike this holiday season, your finances does not dictate your ability to pay. All you must do is follow Him... but before you commit, consider the costs. Remember, nothing in life is free, but somethings are worth the price.