Counting (Not Negotiating) the Cost

Jesus himself tells us to “count the cost” of discipleship (Luke 14:25-33).  But I’m afraid many people want to negotiate the cost rather than count it. (Timothy Keller, Encounters with Jesus, p. 200) 

Control keyWhen Jesus calls a person to salvation, which is the same as a life of discipleship according to the Bible, he is making a call to surrender our lives unto him and make him Lord of our lives.  All of a sudden, there is a paradigm shift from “me” being in control to Jesus being in control.

If we are honest, rarely is it “me” in control, rather it is something else such as status, money, sex, reputation, lifestyle, or something else that is truly dictating the terms to us about why we opt to do or not to do something.  If we are truly honest, when we say “yes” to Jesus, we are removing a created thing from being god in our lives and making the uncreated, omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent God who loves us and knows what is ultimately the best for us and saying “yes” to him being Lord of all aspects of our lives.

Realistically, whether or not to say “yes” to Jesus is a no brainer.  We simply seem to opt for “no brain” rather than the “no brainer” decision, when it comes to the day-to-day choices of having Jesus as Lord.

Timothy Keller, in his book Encounters with Jesus, aims right at the heart of our decision making process and the excuses that we too often make to try to wiggle out of saying “yes” to Jesus being Lord; whether the “yes” is in coming to Jesus for salvation or whether the “yes” is in the day-to-day of a Christian:

People sometimes say to me, “I would like to be a Christian, but will I have to do this?  Will I have to give up doing that?  Will I have to pray, give up sex, quit my job, change my views?”  Certainly questions like this have some legitimacy, because you do need to consider what it will cost you to become a Christian.  Jesus himself tells us to “count the cost” of discipleship (Luke 14:25-33).  But I’m afraid many people want to negotiate the cost rather than count it.  That is, they are willing to give up things, but they won’t give up the right to determine what those things are.  They want to be in a position to do ongoing cost-benefit analyses on various kinds of behavior, which keeps them in the driver’s seat, on the throne of their life, as it were.  I once heard a Bible teacher put it like this – “When it comes to following Jesus, the hardest thing to give is in.”  When God comes to Abraham, he says, “Abraham, get out of our homeland, out of the land of the Chaldess, and follow me.” Abraham says, “Where am I going?” And God essentially says, “I’ll show you later.” God wants Abraham to give up the right to determine for himself the best way for him to live (pp 200-201).

 If you really want Jesus in the middle of your life, you have to obey him unconditionally.  You have to give up control of your life and drop your conditions.  You have to give up the right to say, “I will obey you if…I will do this if…” As soon as you say, “I will obey you if,” that is not obedience.  What that is really saying is: “You are my consultant, not my Lord.  I will be happy to take your recommendations.  And I might even do some of them” (p 204).


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