Count The Cost
I love the continual challenge that I am receiving from our Quest books through scripture. Every week there are scriptures that punch me in the face and there are quotes that make me sit back and ponder what’s really going on in my life. This week was no exception as there was a scripture and a quote that challenged me to move forward into a deeper understanding of my relationship with God.
The scripture John 3:21, “But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.”
The quote, “Many so called disciples are like Nicodemus. They imagine that Jesus is fortunate to have them. After all, they can promote his agenda, even if they do it on their own terms. They want the benefits of being a disciple without the cost.”
As I read this it was clear to me that there is a cost when it comes to following Jesus. It’s going to take some things from us. It’s going to challenge us. It’s going to cause us to change. These are all costs and the question is… are they worth it to you?
Whether we recognize it or not, we count costs all the time.
$3.99 for an app on the apple store? No way. $3.99 for a McRib? Absolutely.
$14.99 for Netflix? No problem. Charge it!
$9.99 for a book? Nope. $19.99 for an audio book? Yep!
$87.00 for a tank of gas? I guess if I have to right now.
Every day in our lives we are weighing the cost of different decisions in our life and we are making a decision off of it. We must decide if the cost is worth the outcome. Everybody has their different values and willingness to pay for something. That’s subjective. When it comes to following God though, there are costs that are just absolutely built in and you have to weigh if you are going to make the decision to accept the cost for the outcome.
So what are some of the costs that we have to weigh? Using Nicodemus and his example, I want to lay out some of the things that he would have given up to truly follow Jesus rather than just hanging out on the fringe.
- Following Jesus Costs Our Pride
This is one of the major hurdles that Nicodemus and many of us need to overcome. Simply, many of us don’t think we NEED Jesus because we believe that we have everything that we need in ourselves. Nicodemus was an extremely successful human, it would be hard to say yeah, I definitely need to work on and acknowledge someone as greater than me. When you are one of 71 highly important people, it’s hard to admit that! We get that too. We struggle acknowledging that there is someone greater than us because we are filled with the pride of how “good” we are. That’s why it costs our pride. We have to be willing to give that to get what Jesus is providing.
- Following Jesus Costs Our Social Uniformity
Mark laid it out in Quest. So much of what Nicodemus was doing was in the shadows. Why? He didn’t want to turn into an outcast. I think about a lot of people that I know that are so close to figuring out what this life is really about, but they are stuck on the edge because they are afraid of turning into an outcast because they will be different. The hard part about communicating this for me, is they are right, they will be different. That doesn’t mean you can’t still be friends with people or hang out with them, but it does mean you will be viewed differently. Hopefully that is in a positive light so you can influence them, but you never know until the time comes. Nicodemus couldn’t cross that hurdle, it froze him. Maybe that’s the same as you. Yet, maybe that difference is a good thing.
- Following Jesus Costs Our Current Life.
Nicodemus had a good thing cooking at the time of talking to Jesus. He was well known, really smart, and presumably wealthy and powerful. Not a bad gig. However, if we were to really examine his life and his heart, we would find that he struggled with sin just like everyone else in this world has. If he would have chosen to follow Jesus that would mean that his current life would go away and a new life would begin. Remember the strange scripture about being born again? Exactly. The same thing occurs with us. The cost of a new life is our current life. We have to be willing to give up the way we have been living for a new way of living that is better.
- Following Jesus Costs Our Trust.
You would assume after this conversation there was a mighty wrestling match happening inside of Nicodemus. Would he sell out for Jesus or himself? The battle would wage and go on and on. Oftentimes, I would assume that one of the key components of the battle was trust. Would he trust himself and what he knew or would he trust Jesus and what he is offering? For me, it’s a battle that I fight all of the time. I constantly have to be reverting to my trust and belief in Jesus rather than myself. It’s easy to trust myself rather than Jesus because it puts me in control. However, after many moments of failure, I know putting my trust in myself is not worth it in the slightest. The cost of trust is worth it because I have proven that in myself, it’s just painful.
- Following Jesus Costs Our Acknowledgement.
Mark started ripping quotes on that third page about acknowledgement, but my favorite was, “You can’t have a personal relationship without public acknowledgment.” How true is that? Nicodemus was never willing to publicly acknowledge who Jesus was and because of that he was always on the outside. I wonder about those of you who are reading this… When it comes to your relationship with Jesus, have you ever publicly acknowledged Him? That’s a major hurdle and a major costs for so many because it instantly puts a spotlight on you by putting a spotlight on him. You may want to try to hide in the shadows avoiding the major milestones and weight, but once you acknowledge him, that changes. That right there is a cost.
So that’s the cost… Now you have to count it and weigh it. Are those things worth it to you for the outcome? Do you even know the outcome? Do you believe the outcome is worth it?
The words of Jesus in this conversation show us the outcome is worth it.
John 3:16-17, “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.
If we are willing to pay what it costs, we can be saved and have eternal life.
For me, how I respond back to that is, “Who do I make the check too?”
Boy that was cheesy. Forgive me.