The Cost of Following Jesus

Contrary to some people’s opinion, being a follower of Jesus Christ comes with a cost. Yes, it is true that Jesus came that we might have the opportunity to experience freedom by His sacrifice. Yes, it is true that Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, died on a cross so that we might have the opportunity to experience the grace, mercy and favor of God. And yes, it is also true that Jesus came into the world that we might be able to experience life and have life more abundantly. But it is also true that like Jesus, we have a cross to bear. We also have a responsibility to sacrifice our own desires, wants, aspirations, and stuff in order to follow Him. In Luke 9:57-62, it is made very clear that as followers of Christ, we must not be troubled by life and its circumstances:

As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you
go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Many times in life, we allow people and situations to take our attention away from the things of God. We allow obstacles or uncomfortable encounters with others to get us off track and mess up our progress. We allow dead (unfruitful) relationships and unproductive people to become the focus of our time and energy. The fact of the matter is that when we answer “yes” to Jesus, we say “no” to everything else in our lives. Let me be clear - saying “yes” to Jesus does not mean that we don’t still cultivate strong relationships and help those in need. It does mean, however, that in cultivating relationships and helping those in need, we don’t become consumed to the point where we neglect the priorities that Christ has put in front of us. The reality for many Christians is that when life becomes burdensome, demanding or overwhelming, we either decide to put God on hold or to prioritize people/things over God. The Bible says that one who approaches his or her relationship with God in this way “is not fit for the kingdom of God.”

So, what has distracted you from living in the purpose that God has set before you? What is your circumstance that has caused you to be so distracted and not growing in your walk with the Lord? What issue or situation are you dealing with that has you not focused and passive to the voice of God? Whatever it is or whoever it is, you must leave it behind.

Pastor Justin Villines