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Count the Cost

“If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple. “But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. They would say, ‘There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’ “Or what king would go to war against another king without first sitting down with his counselors to discuss whether his army of 10,000 could defeat the 20,000 soldiers marching against him? And if he can’t, he will send a delegation to discuss terms of peace while the enemy is still far away. So you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own. (Luke 14:26-33 NLT)”

If I knew then, what I know now I am not sure I would have accepted.  I am not sure I would have committed myself to following Him.  I would like to think I would have, but I am not sure.  Back then, I was immature and young in my walk, so if I knew – I probably gone another way, an easier way.  Although I was thirsty for something, when I heard the Gospel and accepted Christ, I honestly thought my life would be easier. But the more I fell in love with Christ and the more I submitted to following Him, the more dim the path at times and the more twisted the route too.  Yet even in those dim moments, even on those crooked paths, I have counted a joy (James 1:2) beyond measure.  A joy that has been given to me pressed down, shaken together and running over (Luke 6:38).

But I have also come with a greater understanding of Luke 14:26-33. I understand when Christ gives warning to count the cost of following Him; it is not to discourage His followers.  Rather it is for His followers to become more engaged with Him and know what it means to truly submit to Christ’s leadership and authority.  It means giving up yourself totally. It means giving up your comfort zone. It means giving up your very identify for something greater, yet unknown.  You can’t be half way committed or lukewarm when you are walking with Christ.  And just when you thought you had given it all to Him, you find out there is still yet more to give and more required. Christ wants to take up every hidden space of your spirit and every protected and reserved place of your heart. He wants to occupy the dark places in your mind and dispel the fears you dare to acknowledge.

Losing yourself to Christ will create in you an identity crisis.  You lose the fake you and struggle to hold on a person you were never intended to be.  But Christ is calling each of us to live more authentically.  He is calling us to no longer live a fake life for a real God.  That is what Christ means when He tells the Disciples to count the cost of following Him.  Although the cost may seem high, the rewards of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23) are that much greater.  But even greater than that is a surety of spending eternity with Him and the experience of a love that surpasses all understanding.  Although I am not sure my younger self could have understood this journey of faith, in hindsight, I wouldn’t trade a day of my journey.  So what is Christ asking you to give up today?