What does it cost to be a Christian?
The term Christian is only used a few times in the Bible (Acts 11:26; Acts 26:28). It means “little Christ,” and adequately describes the wholistic nature of the Christian faith. Christians are those who follow Jesus and are becoming like him.
True Christians don’t just tune in their attention to Jesus at their leisure. Christians are those who have been convinced Jesus is the only Savior from sin who can reconcile us to God, the Lord of all, and thus worthy of our entire lives (Romans 5:10).
If you want to know what it costs to be a true Christ-follower, the best person to ask is Christ himself.
Let’s listen closely to his answer:
And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.” (Luke 9:23-24 ESV)
From Jesus, we learn that he extends the invitation to follow him to everyone. He says that anyone is welcome.
We don’t count the cost of following Jesus according to the currency of the world—Am I emotionally strong enough? Was I raised right? Am I religious enough? Have I done enough good? Am I socially apt? Do I belong to the right organization, or ethnic group, gender, class, or rank?
Jesus sweeps all our judgments and self-evaluations aside and says, “To anyone who wants to follow…” and then gives us his qualifications for any aspiring follower.
So what does it cost to be a Christian, according to Jesus?
Three things. First, you must deny yourself. Second, you must take up your cross daily. Third, you must follow Jesus.
Jesus says if you want to follow him, you hand over the keys, you get off the throne, you step down from first place. You hand over you to God—totally. That's denying yourself.
Second, we must take up our cross. We each have a cross to bear. As we submit to Jesus’ authority, we must willingly take up whatever suffering he has ordained to enter our lives.
Finally, we follow him. Following means accepting someone’s leadership. And Jesus tells all his followers that a sincere devotion includes letting Jesus lead and leaving whatever you must to follow.
Is the cost worth it?
Yes! The more we know of Christ, the more we will want to follow him.
We do not follow Jesus because of what we can get from him. We follow him because, by his grace, we want to be where he is. Having come to know the love God has for us, we do not want to live a moment without him (1 John 4:16).
Do you want Jesus? Have you considered what it costs? If so, then come, and follow.
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