Whether we realize it or not, we make our decisions every day based primarily upon one core and foundational decision: Who we have decided to follow. Will we choose to follow Jesus? Or will we follow self?
Each of us must count the cost of the decision to follow Jesus. What will it mean for us to really follow Him? Are we willing to lose everything if necessary? Are we willing to leave everything? Will we follow Jesus no matter the cost? Every day, all throughout the day, we will be tested on this decision. Who will be first? Will it be Christ or will it be self?
Jesus says plainly and boldly that we must pick up our cross if we want to follow Him. We must choose Him over our closest relationships, over our possessions, and even over our own lives. There is not a lot of wiggle room here. Either we are willing to leave everything renouncing all that we hold dear and pick up our cross and follow Him … or we are not.
How can anyone really do this? Doesn’t it seem utterly impossible? Yes, because it is. We are incapable of doing the impossible and doing it with the right heart motives. But nothing is impossible with God. In truth none of us can follow Jesus without His Spirit helping us and leading us from the inside out. If it is your heart to be a true disciple of Jesus, I encourage you to ask Him right now for His amazing grace to help you assess the cost and His amazing grace to grant you not only the desire and the willingness to pay the cost but the ability to actually do it. Leave everything He is calling you to leave. Count it all as nothing in order to follow Him.
Consider the different titles that have been given to this passage in Luke.
“Leaving All to Follow Christ”
King James Version
“The Cost of Discipleship”
English Standard Bible and
Revised Standard Version
“The Cost of Following Jesus”
Holman Christian Standard
New American Standard
“The Cost of Being a Disciple”
New International Version
New Living Translation
Each one of these titles in some way address the cost of following Jesus.
It takes time to calculate the cost of a project and determine whether or not you have what it takes to complete the project. Then once you have determined the price you must ask yourself if you are willing to pay the price or willing to take the risk of losing what you have invested if it doesn’t work.
So…what is the cost? What does it take for me to follow Jesus? In a word…everything. My days. My nights. My time. My money. My effort. My wants. My desires. My hopes.
My dreams. My goals. My perspective. My preferences. My schedule. My reactions. My coping mechanisms. My bad habits. My sin. My very self. My everything. Each moment. Everyday. Day after day. As long as I live.
Following Jesus does cost us everything. We must be willing to lay aside anything and everything that keeps us from being all His. We must be willing to do whatever the Lord asks of us, whenever He asks it, cheerfully following, trusting and resting in Him.
It will not be easy. We often don’t understand why God requires the things He requires of us or why He allows the things He allows. But God knows best. He is a Good Shepherd. We must trust Him and follow Him. If we will do so, there will be grace to light our way.
Lord Jesus, I need you. I cannot do this on my own. I thank you that you know me and yet you love me still. You know me. You know all of my sin, my weakness, my wrong thinking, my idolatry, my fears, my love of self, and my unbelief and yet you have still set your affection on me. You are a tender loving Shepherd, and I want to follow you. Please help me fix my eyes upon you and help me to trust that you will show me the way and give me the all grace I need to obey. Lord, you know how difficult, uncomfortable, and frightening it is for me to think about what I might need to change in my life or things that I might need to give up in order to follow Jesus fully. Please deal gently with your servant as you lead me down the road of true discipleship. Please work in my heart what I am unable to work in my heart myself–an undying and unwavering allegiance to your Son alone.
In Jesus’ name I pray,