Pleasing God, Making Disciples of Jesus Christ

There Is A Price To Pay

LUKE 9:23-26 – And Jesus 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. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.”


THEME OF THE DAY:  THERE IS A PRICE TO PAY.  It is important we quickly realize as Christians, Christ isn’t the only One required to carry a cross.  Granted, we aren’t going to follow the Lord in the literal sense that He did, but in a very real and practical way, every one of His children is required to bear a cross of suffering in many shapes and forms.  It has been said of the Christian life, “No cross in this life, no crown in the next.”  There is truth in that statement.  We cannot coast into heaven with shoulders lacking the marks of carrying a cross.


In today’s scripture, the Lord Jesus lays out the non-negotiable criteria for those wanting to be His disciples.  There are three.  They cannot be discussed, lessened, or ignored.  Jesus graciously extends the invitation to anyone wanting to follow Him, but He is unbending in the price to pay.  And it is costly. Very.  There is a reason why the Lord said these words, “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:13-14).  The reason? It isn’t those who profess to know Him that enter the narrow gate.  It will be those who meet the requirements He places forth – self-denial, daily death to self, and a life of progressive obedience to His commandments.


As we ponder the serious words of Jesus laying out the price to pay to follow Him, we owe it to ourselves, for the eternal welfare of our souls, and to ensure we are not self-deceived, to ask ourselves if we are paying it.


First, are we living a consistent pattern of saying “no” to ourselves when it comes to fulfilling our own wills, desires, and fleshly lusts?  This is the most difficult “price tag” in the demands Jesus makes to follow Him.  Consistently saying “no” to our flesh is not for the faint of heart.  It is demanding, exhausting and constant, yet, doable because of the Spirit of God, but we must do the work in His strength by putting to death the deeds and impulses of our flesh.


Next, are we daily dying to self-interests and worldly pursuits?  Remember, the cross is an instrument of death.  To follow Christ, we must be able to say with the Apostle Paul, “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me, and the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).  To be a disciple of Christ means daily death to self so that He might live through us.


Finally, are we daily giving evidence that we are following Jesus as His self-denying, death to self-disciples and that by purposeful obedience to His Word?  Without obedience, there is no following.  We must be able to see in our lives intentional putting into practice His commandments.  That is the simplest definition of a disciple – a learner who is a doer.


Yes, the is a price to pay to be a disciple of Jesus, but, oh, the privilege and joy to do so!  When we think of the price He paid so that we might pay the price to follow Him, it is so, so small and He so worthy for us to do as He commands!


PRAYER: “Father, thank You for the suffering of Your Son, making it possible to suffer with Your Son.”


QUOTE: “If it doesn’t cost us to follow Christ, then we don’t understand true Christianity.”


Because of Him,


Pastor Jim