Devotional

Counting the Cost and Commitment to Following

I’m not sure if it’s because of writing STILL I WILL FOLLOW (Miller’s Creek novel #7) or because the Lord keeps bringing it to my attention. But I’m reminded often that following Jesus requires counting the cost of discipleship and making a commitment to following Him — not just when it’s easy and things are going our way.

This post is a devotional look at Bible passages on counting the cost and a commitment to following Jesus.

Counting the Cost of Following Jesus

“For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it?”  ~Luke 14:28

I can only speak for myself, but I’m often quick to jump on board with projects or purchases without truly taking adequate time to think things through. I don’t stop to consider the cost, not only in monetary terms, but also the costs of energy and time.

Obviously the same is true in counting the cost of following Jesus, or He wouldn’t have spoken the words above.

If we’re honest, we love what Jesus offers: forgiveness, salvation, heaven, and more! But do we also take into account what following Him costs?

More Verses on the Cost of Following Jesus

Deny Self & Take Up Your Cross

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” ~Matthew 16:24

“And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.” ~Matthew 10:38-39

Homelessness & Discomfort

Then a scribe came and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.” 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.”  ~Matthew 8:19-20

Loss

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.” ~Luke 9:59-60

“So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.” ~Luke 14:33

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 9:61-62

“He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.” ~Matthew 10:37

“He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal.” ~John 12:25

Persecution

“Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master ‘ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also.” ~John 15:20

Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. ~2 Timothy 3:12

The Cost of Following: Take-Aways

Whew! Does everyone else out there feel as convicted as I do after reading those verses? I’ve pledged my life to following Jesus, but I don’t always do it well — especially during life storms. I tend to look for ways to escape the difficult parts of following.

Jesus didn’t mince words or sugar-coat what it means to follow Him.

  1. Self-denial means giving up our wants and plans for His.
  2. Taking up our cross is more than just a burden we must bear. To those listening in person to Jesus’ words, taking up the cross meant one thing — death. Not only do we deny ourselves, we die to self.
  3. Those who refuse to die to self and follow Him aren’t worthy of Him and His gift of life. But if we want the eternal life He offers, it’s our only option! (On a side note, because of these tough conditions of discipleship, many view God as a tyrant. In truth, He is a loving Father, full of compassion, mercy and grace. But He is also sovereign. As our King, He has the right to lay down any conditions He deems necessary. We may not like that too much, but it helps if we remember that He always acts “for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.”)
  4. Following Jesus means that this earth will never be our home. It might also mean giving up creature comforts, which we sometimes see as our right.
  5. Another cost is that of putting everything and everyone else as a lower priority than Jesus. Anything else is idolatry.
  6. If we truly live first and foremost for Jesus, we will experience persecution. We are guaranteed trouble.

Commitment to Following

When we speak wedding vows, we promise to love another “for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.”

Those are serious words of commitment.

I love how marriage is such a beautiful symbol of Christ’s marriage to His church. And each believer is a part of that.

But it requires commitment on our part.

It’s not something we do as long as everything is going great. Instead, it’s something we do in spite of bad times and struggles. We stay the course and keep on keeping one.

No matter what.

More Verses on Commitment to Following Jesus

We’re Not Our Own

For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. ~Romans 14:7-8

We Live For Him & His Will

For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. ~2 Corinthians 5:14-15

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” ~Galatians 2:20

Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. ~1 Peter 4:1-2

He Gets First Place

He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. ~Colossians 1:18

Any Loss Becomes Greater Gain

But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ. ~Philippians 3:7-8

We Follow, Even In Suffering

For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps. ~1 Peter 2:21

Commitment to Following Jesus: Take-Aways

Yes, there is a cost to following Jesus. And we would be wise to count that cost in advance to commitment to following Him.

But whatever we give up for the cause of Christ and the gospel is small potatoes compared to what we gain.

Here are some take-away lessons on commitment to follow Jesus:

  1. We’re not our own and we never have been. God is our Maker and Jesus is our Redeemer. God made us for His purposes and we’ve been bought back at such great price.
  2. Let that great love compel us to live for Him and His will. That requires letting go of our will for the One who loves us best and first and who always has our best interest at heart.
  3. He rightfully deserves first place in our lives — above all people, our own desires, and the other little-g gods we pay homage to in countless ways.
  4. There is a definite cost to follow Jesus, but what we gain in return far exceeds our loss.
No Fool quote - Jim Elliot
STILL I WILL FOLLOW

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