The Cost of Discipleship
Yes, there is a cost to our discipleship in Jesus Christ. But, we often underline that our salvation is a gift from God. That is true – “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God” (Eph 2:8). We, also, note that Jesus paid the price of our salvation – “knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver and gold,…but with the precious blood of Christ” (1 Pet 1:18,19). Yet, our Lord said to His disciples, “whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:33). Much like our freedom in the United States and in many other countries, citizenship/discipleship comes at a cost.
Think of it in this way: you have a good friend who has his pilot license and has purchased a Learjet 60 XR. He has invited you to enjoy a time with him on a trip at no cost. You accept the invitation and join him on this trip. May I suggest to you that you have just placed yourself completely in his care and control. If he makes any kind of mistake you will go down with him possibly to your death.
In much the same way Jesus has paid the price for your salvation and if you accept His invitation and join Him on a trip to heaven, you have put yourself freely under His care and control. This means you could and may very well bear all the same burdens, endure all the same hardships and trials, and possibly go to your death just as He did.
Jesus said to those who would follow Him – “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it” (Luke 9:23,24). Consider His challenging words, “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you” (John 15:18,19). Our faith is tested by fire as we determine to live righteously for our Lord. This is the cost to us as we choose to live for Him.
Here are just a few ways we may pay the price of our decision to be a follower of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ through self denial:
We freely give up the right or choice to wear what we want (Eph 6:10-17; 1 Pet. 3:1-4; Eph 4:20-24).
We freely give up the right to say whatever we feel like (Col. 4:6; Eph. 5:4; 4:29,31).
We freely give up the right to use our time for whatever we determine (Eph 5:16; 6:18; 1 Pet 4:2; 2 Pet 3:18).
We freely choose to give our money to do the work of the Lord (1 Cor 16:2; 2 Cor 9:6,7).
There is no way to list everything that it will cost one to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. Nevertheless just this small evaluation of what we read in the New Testament should explain why Jesus told his follower to count the cost of what it would mean to be at His side walking with Him.