(I mean that is what one side of me wants to say, right? The side of me that doesn’t want to pray certain prayers because God might answer them in a way that challenges me and also the side of me that plugs my ears, closes my eyes, and says “la la la” as I am reading some parts of the Bible).
I don’t want to give up everything.
Or do I?
These words have stuck to me like glue these past few months and I cannot shake them off. Jesus says this in Luke 14:28 and 30
“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? (verse 30) In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.”
K but I want to be Christ’s disciple, so is the “giving up everything” part optional? What does this mean in my middle class American life? Do I need to live homeless? Do I need to eat nothing but beans and rice? Do I need to become a nomad and wander around with my family? Do I need to stop going to see Marvel movies (cause I really love Marvel movies)? What about Disney vacations, surely those have to go? Or, worst of all, do I need to stop being a Patriots fan?
After further prayer and reconciling my fanhood with God, he and I together determined it is none of these things for me. Then what is it?
Because at the end of the day my heart truly loves Jesus most. More than my husband or children or any loved one, Jesus has my greatest affection. He knows this and so in my brave and non-ear plugging moments I say, “Lord, what is it you want from me? Because I want to pay it to follow you!”
Yes, the ultimate price has been paid for me. Christ died for me so that I may truly live. But in this one life I have to live I want to disciple well, and if it includes a cost I am in.
I had the joy of sharing this question with a women’s discipleship group I am in. We just started, and if you don’t have one of these or aren’t in one, drop what you are doing and go make one. Its easy and hard all at the same time. You need only these two things: 1. A mutual commitment to meet weekly (it costs some serious time and schedule bending, its a painful but worth it). and 2. A mutual commitment to dig into God’s Word together. No book studies, no study guides. Open it up and read it together. Period.
So I am in discipleship group and we are asking this question: what is my personal cost for being a disciple?
My dear friend Amanda said it beyond perfectly and I wanted to share with you exactly what she said because I believe it was God’s whisper directly into her heart. Amanda said this:
“Initially, it is easy to see some costs, but harder to deem them a “regrettable loss”. For example, cultural relevance by way of limiting the media I consume. Sure, I didn’t see “50 Shades of Gray” but that benefited my soul, so not a regrettable loss.
Digging deeper, following Jesus has cost me vacation time since I spent that week of PTO on mission. It is costing me a tithe and “Immeasurably More” and the money we spend to sponsor the work of the Honduras Life Center. Still, none of it regrettable.
Then, I realize my discipleship has cost me my ignorance and its associated false and temporary bliss.
Discipleship has caused me grief by illuminating my sinful nature. It has cost me peace because I see injustice and oppression I had been able to ignore before Jesus.
Discipleship shows me more and more of what I don’t know, can’t control and can’t fix.
Discipleship, as opposed to a simple belief, exposes my smallness and His infinite divinity. It has cost me my world view.
That loss hurts a lot more, but it is still not regrettable.
I lost the old me- not regrettable to me or the world!”
Yes, it might cost us something but it will not be regrettable. Amen! And, it might even be painful, but it will not be without joy.
I believe there is a greater thing He is calling you to. For me, after digging through this, there were a few very tangible things in my life that I did need to let go of. Ways of thinking and acting that I had become addicted to without even realizing it. Then, when Christ prompted me with these words of “drop everything and follow me” I said “but I’m not holding anything!”
And then he said, “You’re not? Look down.”
As I gazed into my heart and my hands I realized “oops” there is quite a lot there that I am trusting in over and above Him.
Letting it go is not easy, but it is not regrettable.
In his book Screwtape Letters C.S. Lewis gives us a chilling perspective of how our enemy (satan and his minions) see us. Many quotes from this book have stuck with me over time, its chilling and compelling. I grabbed one quote from here and it says this, “A moderated religion is as good for us (the devil) as no religion at all – and more amusing.”
I’ll pay the price. I don’t want a moderated faith. I want a huge one and I pray for you today, sister or brother, for you to take up the courage to want one too.
I believe you won’t regret it.