What Is the Cost of Following Jesus?
Would you purchase something with an “unknown” price? What if you knew the cost of a commitment could come in various forms: physical, emotional, and relational, but the measure of each is likewise unknown? Most of us would hesitate to consider such investments. However, if you call Jesus your Savior and Lord, I suggest that not only have you considered a commitment of this nature, you have accepted one.
When Jesus taught his disciples about following him, he did not give them any reason to believe that following him would be easy or comfortable. He told them it would require much, including denial of themselves and their desires (Matt. 16:24-26; John 12:24-26), and that they would face persecution (2 Tim. 3:12; John 15:18-20). Some left their loved ones to immediately follow him, and for many: following Jesus ultimately cost them their life.
Jesus entered our world in a way that no one else could or has done since. He left the glories of heaven and became our sympathetic High Priest, fully experiencing humanity. It cost him greatly. Likewise, we should consider the cost of following Jesus.
Every follower of Christ faced a time when we felt extremely uncomfortable about our own sin. We were convicted and understood that we had offended a holy God, needing forgiveness for our sins, and that redemption could only come through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. We were sorrowful over our depravity and realized we were powerless to achieve reconciliation with God on our own. This ordained discomfort was integral in our salvation.
I’m convinced that being uncomfortable in order to cooperate with the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit is essential. Each time I’m confronted with my sin and weakness, I’m uncomfortable. When the Holy Spirit nudges me to do the right thing and my flesh says “no”, I’m uncomfortable. When I step out in an obedient way that stretches me, even with a willing spirit, I’m uncomfortable. With that in mind, and trusting that every Christ-follower can relate in some way, I invite you (and myself) to be more willing to enter into uncomfortable places.
Listening & Loving
This may mean we’re willing to engage in an uncomfortable but necessary conversation. There may be a conflict that can only be resolved through a transparent dialogue. As fellow image-bearers, the most loving act may be listening as someone shares their experiences with us, including some scenarios which could bring discomfort and even pain.
We might hesitate to enter in because we’re unsure how to respond. Perhaps coming alongside that person by entering into their world doesn’t mean we have to have the perfect response. We must learn their perspective in order to meet them in the specific place where they dwell. Maybe they just want to be known and heard. The cost could very well be our comfort, but again we might ask whether it’s worth it in order to love this brother or sister.
Listening is costly. James instructs us, “be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:19). These timeless words speak volumes. It’s possible we know far less than we think. By listening to someone who is different than us, we can learn things we have yet to encounter. In the act of listening, and from that place of learning, we grow in our love for one another.
A Greater Reward
Could this be part of the unknown cost of following Jesus? We will have to deny and humble ourselves. Let’s trust him, being willing to pay the stretching price of being uncomfortable, and discover the far greater treasure of our sanctification as we follow the One who has gone before us. I doubt he ever asked, “Is it worth it?” because he already knew the answer.