We don’t often think about the cost of following Jesus. After all, the Bible is pretty clear that salvation is a free gift offered to everyone (John 3:16; Romans 6:23) and anyone who calls on the name of Jesus for salvation will be saved (Romans 10:13).
If salvation is free, how can following Jesus be costly?If salvation is free, how can following Jesus be costly? Click To Tweet
Have you looked up college tuition prices lately? College is expensive! Now, imagine if someone offered to pay for your entire college tuition, room and board, books, and any other expense that comes with attending college. What if you were gifted a 100% free ride? That would be a generous and gracious gift!
Your college tuition is free, but being a college student is costly.
Even though your expenses have been paid, there are still some sacrifices you have to make. There is hard work ahead; late night studying for tests; early morning classes; long hours spent completing assignments. Being a college student demands commitment and sacrifice.
There is a cost to being a college student even when your college is free.
Likewise, there is a cost to following Jesus even though salvation is free. In fact, Jesus specifically mentions we should consider the cost before making the decision to follow Him (Luke 14:25-33).
Here are a few examples of what following Jesus may cost you.
1. Family Relationships
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26
No, Jesus isn’t saying you should hate your parents. He actually affirms the command to “honor your father and mother” in a teaching moment with the Pharisees (Matthew 15).
Jesus is not encouraging his followers to hate their families. Instead, He’s illustrating that His followers must be so committed to Him that they are willing to let go of earthly relationships, if necessary, in order to pursue the most significant relationship. In fact, today there are people in parts of the world who risk being renounced by their family because of their decision to follow Christ.
2. Future Dreams
“Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:27
Jesus is not beating around the bush. If we aren’t willing to sacrifice our own lives, we cannot be His follower.
Practically, it could never work. How can we pursue Jesus’ desires for our life if we are chasing our own desires? How can we say we are following Jesus if we aren’t willing to leave where we are currently? That’s like accepting a promotion at work that requires a move to New York, but you aren’t willing to leave Texas. You can’t do both.
You can’t stay where you are and follow Jesus. You have to pick one or the other.You can't stay where you are and follow Jesus. You have to pick one or the other. Click To Tweet
Before you decide, consider this. When it comes to your dreams and desires for your life, God doesn’t just come in and take those all away. As you surrender your life to Him, He actually gives you new dreams and desires — better dreams and desires. Ponder this from King David. “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.” Psalm 37:4
3. Fading Possessions
“In the same way, therefore, every one of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:33
Let me ask a question that may seem odd. What’s your perspective of your possessions? Do you view your possessions as your source of happiness, self-worth, and/or meaning in life? Or do you view possessions as a tool God gives you to steward well for your good and His glory?
You answer to that question is important because possessions could be the barrier that keeps you from fully following Jesus. It’s not that having “stuff” is bad, and don’t think for a second that Jesus is 100% against us having nice things. However, Jesus is 100% against the things we prioritize in our life more than Him. They’re called idols, and they need to be torn down.Jesus is 100% against the things we prioritize in our life more than Him. They're called idols, and they need to be torn down. Click To Tweet
It’s actually quite easy to tear down our idols of possessions once we realize that possessions are temporary and fading. They won’t and don’t last. Why worship something that collects dust, rusts, fades, and one day will be destroyed (Matthew 6:19-20).
Yes, salvation is free. Yes, there’s a cost to following Jesus. I’ll leave you with the words of Jesus. Will you consider the costs?
“For which of you, wanting to build a tower, doesn’t first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, after he has laid the foundation and cannot finish it, all the onlookers will begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This man started to build and wasn’t able to finish.’ “Or what king, going to war against another king, will not first sit down and decide if he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand?” Luke 14:28-31