No one ever said that following Jesus and being a Christian was easy. In fact, there is example after example throughout the bible where the cost of being a Christian can be VERY expensive. If we focus only on the here and now and the difficulties of being a Christian, the task ahead can be overwhelming.
Do not let the temporal things of everyday life take over and lead to discouragement. The rewards God has waiting for us are very much worth the wait.
The Cost of Following Jesus
When we talk about the cost of being a Christian, what exactly are we speaking of? I mean, isn’t the gift of God’s grace free of charge? All we have to do is believe and accept Jesus Christ as our savior, ask him to come into our hearts, and boom, we’re done…………..right?
Sure, the gift of God’s grace is waiting there for all of us and it doesn’t cost a thing. But in order for us to fulfill God’s will for our lives, to really reap the full benefits of His plan and desire for us, being a Christian can be expensive to say the least and very difficult.
Let’s take a quick look at the bible, specifically Luke chapter 10, verse 59-60:
“59. He (Jesus) said to another person, “Come, follow me.” The man agreed, but he said, “Lord, first let me return home and bury my father.” 60. But Jesus told him, “Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead! Your duty is to go and preach about the Kingdom of God.”
Here, a man has been invited by Jesus himself, personally, to follow him but has the gall to say, “sure God, I’ll follow you, but wait, let me go do this one thing first”. That one thing seems important, sure, he just wanted to bury his father, say his goodbyes and then come back to follow Jesus.
But notice the reply of Jesus. Jesus was explaining that the more important task at hand was winning over people so that before they die, they will come to know Him and His saving grace. The man was asked to pay a hefty price to follow Jesus by missing his fathers burial.
Yes – THAT Expensive!!!
In the New Testament in the book of Acts, beginning in Chapter 6, a man named Stephen really shows us how high the cost of being a Christian can be. Stephen was one of seven men chosen by the twelve disciples to help fairly distribute money donated to the church in Jerusalem to help the poor.
The disciples had been doing this but the church had grown so much that they were spending more time distributing money to the poor, and missing some people, that their focus on preaching the gospel was fading.
To get back to the most important thing at hand, preaching the gospel, these seven men were chosen to help. Stephen was the first of the seven chosen but he not only was trustworthy to distribute money fairly, he also turned out to be a gifted preacher.
Stephen was so gifted in fact that he preached with so much power that he made every one who heard him feel the truth and power of God. The church had just one problem with Stephen however; he believed that everyone was worthy of the grace of God, not just the Jews.
Stephen preached the same way to gentiles just as he did to the Jews. You see, gentiles were a disgusting and despicable people to the Jews. The Jewish church did not believe the gentiles were worthy of the grace of God. Stephen knew differently and he knew that in God’s eyes, we are all His children and loved equally.
After being accused of several things because of his preaching, some true, some not, Stephen was taken before the high priest where he then turned the tables of accusation and pointed out their own faults in the eye’s of God.
In the end of the meeting before the high priest, Stephen was taken out and stoned to death, all for doing precisely what our purpose for being here on earth is,,,,,,,,,,,,,,spreading the word of God.
Don’t Confuse the Temporal with the Eternal
A lot of those who are on the fence about taking the baptismal plunge into Christianity unfortunately believe that once they dive in, their lives will miraculously make a sudden change for the better.
I’m sorry to tell you this isn’t necessarily the case. These misconceptions are brought about by their own misunderstanding of the bible simply because of their newness to the word, and unfortunately by the misleading of others. Some of these common misconceptions are:
- All of my problems will suddenly go away!
- You’ll suddenly become happy and the world around you will be easier to understand.
- The sinful habits and addictions will go away on their own now.
- Your “luck” will change all of a sudden.
While some of these things could happen, especially with prayer, don’t for a second believe they will just suddenly begin to happen. God is the only God, the creator of all that ever was, is, and ever will be and if he want’s to change these things for you, believe me, he absolutely can.
However, the main benefits of accepting Jesus Christ as your savior, believing in God and having faith in Him and HIM ALONE are that:
- Your sins, all of them, are forgiven by God himself.
- The punishment you were once facing after death for NOT accepting Christ, hell, is gone.
- You will now spend eternity with God in heaven.
Be careful not to confuse the temporary “things” here on earth with the “eternal” after death. As James chapter 4 verse 14 states, ……”You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes“. What is more important to you? The temporary suffering in the cost of being a Christian here on earth or the eternal happiness in Heaven after you leave this life?
Being a Christian and taking that plunge isn’t an easy one, no doubt. But what is more important to you? Suffering here on earth happens in many ways and by becoming a Christian, you’re almost guaranteed to allow more suffering in your life. Think about it; Satan isn’t after non-Christians, he already has them on the road to eternal damnation and hell.
Satan and his band of demons are spending their time on those of us who have already taken the plunge. The cost of being a christian is more temptation, more loss of friends, more laughs at you, more struggles to stay on the straight and narrow than you’ve ever had in your entire life.
But remember, this life is only temporary………..the promise of Heaven………that’s ETERNAL.