The theme of our ministry and even our whole lives these past few years has been “is it worth it?” One new believer just before she prayed to accept Christ asked this question, passionately. It has not left my mind since. If something is of value, it has a cost attached. The question begs the answer “does the ‘thing’ worth the price?” When considering Christ we cannot stress enough the value of what you are getting. But we often forget to prepare people for and explain the considerable cost of becoming a Follower of Jesus Christ. To be a true disciple of someone or philosophy, our lives need to at least begin to reflect the one we are following. In the case of the Christian this means seeking to look like Jesus.
In Canada, it most often (not always of course) costs us very little to become a Christian. The cost is all about self: How will people see me? Will I be left out of things? Will people think I am a freak? In Canada for the most part, we have even discounted the cost simply through our tolerant and ‘as long as it makes you feel good’ culture. As long as we don’t tell others how to feel, how to act or what to believe, no one cares really what you call yourself. But what does the Bible say about the cost of becoming a follower, a true Disciple of Jesus Christ?
“Whoever does not deny their father, mother, sister, brother, even their own self is not worthy of Me” Jesus said that. (Mark 8:31, Luke 9:23)
“in this world you will have trouble” Jesus said that too.
“If anyone wants to follow after Me, he must deny himself daily and take up his cross and follow Me.” Jesus again. (Matt 16:24)
“You’ll go through tribulation and go through every kind of trouble and be hated because of Me.” Jesus as well. (Matt 24:9)
Many people around the world become Christians and immediately lose their jobs, homes, family relationships, friends, even their lives. But they know this before they accept Christ. In their cultures it is clear what happens to followers of His. So they know going in what the cost is to them and they also know it is nothing compared to eternity with Him. I think that may be better…not that I want to go through difficulties and persecution. I certainly hate pain and suffering! But to think that becoming a Christian can just be an “add-on” to your already pretty good lifestyle is just naive. We believe in the only true God and so the enemy of Him hates us most of all other people on the earth. Thus we will be persecuted. The cost will be high. Sometimes it is everything. But when I talk to women who have lost everything, and I mean everything, after putting their full trust in Jesus and their lives in His control and see the joy on their faces…its astonishing. It’s embarrassing to realize how much I don’t want people to not like me. I am re-reading a book I read a long time ago about the Fear of Man to help me keep perspective and realize it is always worth it with Jesus!