Have you ever talked enthusiastically with someone about following Jesus, only to lose their interest when they realise they might have to give up something big or precious, to do so?
What do you say? What do you think? What if for them, becoming a Christian will mean the ending of a relationship, family disownment, a change in lifestyle, or even in many countries physical danger?
Do you still tell them about Christ with the same passion? Do you still feel convinced that this is the best news they can hear?
Perhaps it’s more personal – hesitancy in your own life, an undercurrent of anxiety at what God might ask of you, now that you are thinking about following him.
Maybe like me you’ve been a Christian for a while, but now it feels like God is asking you to loosen your hold on something that is costly to you – a cherished dream or ambition, or a future plan.
You want to be sure that you can trust him; that when you count the cost of following Jesus, it will all be worth it.
Fortunately for us, the Bible is both transparent about the cost of following Christ, and the reward:
…everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.
2 Timothy 3:12
Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” 20 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” Matthew 8:19-21
28 Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!”
29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. Mark 10:28-29
I find it hugely encouraging as I consider my puny sacrifices to know that Paul, who lost much and suffered greatly, would speak with such certainty about the value of what he had gained in return! – The righteousness of Christ, given to Paul – and to all who trust in Jesus, the experience of being found “in him”!
And there are plenty more:
13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
You find such testimonies in the Old Testament too:
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
forever. Psalm 23
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness…
25 The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him; Lamentations 3:22
It’s so good of God, because he doesn’t need to assure us in the multitude of ways that he does!
He is Lord, the King of the universe. We are his creatures, and he deserves our love and obedience; there is no question at all that we owe him our allegiance. Yet he patiently assures us of his good character, his love and faithfulness, and promises to bless and reward us for the things we should be doing in the first place!
I hope that these verses give us the reminders that we need. Perhaps it is the encouragement that you can trust Jesus as you lay down the things he asks of you. Or maybe you need the reminder of the cost involved in giving your allegiance to the King, so that you will be prepared for it.
If you are feeling jaded in your Christian life, my prayer is that you will be refreshed as you remind yourself of the joys and rewards of following such a wise and good ruler!
May God’s Spirit move each one of us to readily give our King all that he deserves, as we follow in his footsteps.