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17 June, 2013

Follow Me ─ How Do You Count The Cost? ─ Part Three

Most of us when we read in the Scriptures that  we have to count the cost to follow Christ, if we do not have any hindrances coming from families and friends because we decide to follow Jesus, the idea of counting the cost seems a little bit futile to us. In our mind, it remains something we read in the Bible. If you live in a country where you don’t have freedom of speech or choices, you understand first hand what it means to count the cost. You know right away that you might be killed for choosing to follow Christ. I have worked with people who have been totally banned from their families back home for having chosen Christianity, simply because God opened their eyes to the truth.

To me, counting the cost was not a big deal either.  A few years ago when God stirred up my heart and I was upset at all that I found in the Bible concerning His demands to live out true Christianity, I did not know it then, but that was His way of waking me up to the reality of what true Christianity means to Him. He knew even before I knew it, that I needed to learn what it means to count the cost and make the decision whether I wanted what He was offering. 

When I first surrendered all to Him I did it with all my heart, yet the Holy Spirit told me that I did not surrender my soul. I could not understand what He meant. I had that goofy look on my face and I was thinking “but, I am so sincere, what else does He want from me?” Then He set out to show me in the span of a few weeks, certain things that I needed to take into consideration before I could make a proper decision to surrender all to Him. These few weeks were so hard and even though I was experiencing Him, I was walking around feeling so sad and I felt I was carrying the world on my shoulders. I knew I had a decision to make but I simply could not say yes right away to Him because this time around, I knew the cost.

I found out there is a whole process and principles in counting the cost to follow Christ.
LOVE RELATIONSHIP: For instance, as you consider the cost, you find that the first commandment is not some light doctrine that we just file away with one of those things you hope to get right one day. It’s the reality of the Christian life and it is a real commitment that demands your whole life. There is a list of subtexts that you need to get acquainted with once the Holy Spirit illuminates you to understand the high standards of God vis a vis the first commandment. As you see and come to grips with His standards, it seems like you are completely annihilated.

COMMITMENT: There is a commitment that you know there will be consequences that your mind cannot even embrace yet, because it is about withstanding one spiritual battle after another and you cannot help wondering “why would I want that in my life?”

VOLUNTARY DEPENDENCE: that takes all your focus away from you and redirected toward Him. There is no room for substitution coming from your own mind anymore. It is as if God is going out of His way to somehow discourage you. Everything He shows you does not say anything about the good side of this relationship, except that you need to believe and accept the fact that, Him alone can sustain you.

The list goes on as you consider His idea of faith relationship and the cost that accompany faith through obedience and trust in Him. You know you are going to deal with the unknown and all you can do is wait, follow and trust. He wants some kind of integrity and this single-eye type of relationship that you have no idea as a human being you can pull that off.

While all these things are hard to take in, and you just don’t want to participate voluntarily in this kind of makeover party He is inviting you to. Strangely, as you go through the process of sorting things out, He sustains your heart to understand your only alternative is to say yes. He also helps you understand that the whole thing is about reaching your full potential in Him, which only Him knows the limit. In your mind, you know that you are embarking in one twisted and unknown adventure and a tiny bit of you, are curious to see where it leads. You are very well aware that it is an invitation to go forward with Him and to get to know Him. You are also aware that saying yes to Him is in itself a form of worship which causes you to be aware of the experience of worship you know so far is kind of hollow and here is your chance to step up and act upon this knowledge.

Through Him, I found the strength to say yes to Him and I know there is no adventure on this earth that could ever match the ride that He takes you on as you follow Him with full knowledge of what you signed on for. Perhaps because I have considered the cost and I knew there was pain awaiting me, although I did not know the extend of the pain that I was going to have to cope with, but, having counted the cost, helped me to walk faithfully, even when the pain was unbearable, I could not walk away and through His grace,  I am still going strong.