While I risk sounding like a broken record, I continue to be convinced a large number of people who profess to be Christians want to serve without it costing them anything. We want the ticket to Heaven as long as we can maintain a reasonable comfort here on earth. We sing, “No matter the cost” but balk at giving up a Saturday to minister to the poor or homeless. We proclaim we’ll go wherever God sends us but renege when the call leads to Uganda instead of Austin or San Diego.
When we say surrender, we tend to put guardrails around it rather than giving ourselves in reckless abandon to Christ. Unless we are willing to serve Him no matter the cost, I fear we may not even be actual followers of Jesus.
I confess I am as guilty as anyone else in this regard. I have days where nothing matters to me other than Jesus. I struggle to focus on work or even my relationships because I am consumed with love and zeal for Jesus. But then I have days where I can’t motivate myself to even send an encouraging email. I often shy away from committing time to a worthy cause because I am too focused on hoarding that precious resource for my own selfish desires. If not for the amazing grace of God, myself and everyone else would be doomed as we fabulously flail in our efforts to follow Him.
Fortunately, God sees our hearts which means He measures our intent, not our execution. The danger for us is in giving a half-hearted effort, convinced God will honor it. I don’t think that’s the case. I believe the effort which makes God smile is one in which we viciously run hard after Him.
The life of a disciple is not easy. Jesus told His followers as much when He was still walking this earth, and nothing has changed since. He promised following Him would divide them from their families, would lead to being homeless, and assured persecution (Luke 9:58-62, Matthew 10:21-24). He never promised an easy or comfortable life. He did promise an abundant life however, and that abundance is found in our lives being transformed to look like His. We will never be happy as long as we are seeking a selfish independence. True freedom and true comfort are found when we have crucified ourselves and find our life only in His.
Are you willing to follow Jesus whatever the cost? Are you willing to give up your possessions, your treasured relationships, and your very identity purely for the honor of serving Christ? This is the question Jesus posed to His early followers, and it is the question we must answer today.
Evil continues to encroach on this world and it is getting darker by the minute. Only the love of Jesus can repel such darkness, and we are His instruments of that love. The light of Jesus will not cut through the night if we continue to hide it beneath our selfish pursuits of safety, comfort, and pleasure. We were made to shine. We were called to reflect His character. And we must follow Him no matter the cost.