I’ve probably already quoted this song on my blog, but as I was reading Luke the other day, I was reminded of it again.
I’ve counted up the cost, and You are worth it.
I’m saying yes to You, and no to my desires.
I do not need safety, as much as I need You.
You’re dangerous but Lord, You’re beautiful.
Jesus, take my all. Take my everything.
I’ve counted up the cost, and You’re worth everything.
In Luke 14:25-33, Jesus talked to large crowds about the cost of following Him. He doesn’t say it’s going to be easy. He says we will have to pick up our cross and follow Him. But He goes on to say this:
But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. They would say, ‘There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’
(v. 28-30, New Living Translation)
Jesus wants us to know the cost of following Him. He doesn’t want us to begin walking with Him, only to give up the moment things get hard. He wants us to know that the world will hate us because we are His and that troubles WILL come…but that He has overcome the world and those who stand firm will be saved (Mark 13:13; John 16:33). He doesn’t want lukewarm disciples. He doesn’t want fakers and flakers; He doesn’t want foolish or rash decision-makers. He wants us to deeply consider our decision to follow Him, so that we can say with confidence: “I’ve counted up the cost, and You are worth it.”
The other side is that once we make that decision, we will continue to mess up. We will fail; we will fall short. But we have the ability to decide how we will respond when that happens. Will we throw in the towel? Will we beat ourselves up for living for the desires of the flesh? Will we live a life full of guilt, believing the lie that what we do makes God love us more, or love us less? That’s not where Christ wants us to live. He has given us a new nature and a new Spirit – we are completely new. Let’s start living like that Truth is True RIGHT NOW! Last year at IndyCC, Mike Erre preached on Ephesians 1, which talks about who we are in Christ. He gave the challenge to live a life worthy of our calling. That doesn’t mean Jesus looks at us and says, “Earn this.” It means that through God’s grace, what was Christ’s nature is now mine. The calling to a holy life is already mine – now I need to become what I already am, to learn how to be what I already am. I am already all the things Paul lays out in Ephesians 1: holy, blameless, adopted, claimed, forgiven. What God desires is to see the fruit of Jesus in my life – for me to live in a manner that fits my new identity in Christ.
I’m memorizing Romans 8 right now, and verses 8-9a say, “Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature, but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you” (emphasis mine). I HAVE THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST LIVING IN ME. I have the ability to live a life that is pleasing to God, and I have that ability RIGHT NOW. It’s not something I have to wait to acquire after I’ve known Jesus a certain amount of time, or have matured to a certain point, or have done enough good things. It’s already there, the power to put to death the misdeeds of my Adam, my old nature, and put on the character and manner of Christ.
I’ll be honest: the past two weeks, I have struggled a lot with anxiety. I have been so anxious about what going home will look like; whether I’m for-sure-and-certain coming back to the DR in January; what types of jobs I’ll apply for next year; what types of jobs I’d even be good at; what the rest of my life is going to look like. And as I’ve been reading through the Gospels recently, I’ve been so convicted by the passages when Jesus calls us not to worry. In the Message version of the passage in Luke, it says this:
“Walk into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They don’t fuss with their appearance—but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them. If God gives such attention to the wildflowers, most of them never even seen, don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you?” Luke 12:27-28 (emphasis mine)
Wow. In verse 25, Jesus says that nobody can add a single hour to their life by worrying. What has my anxiety been accomplishing? Nothing. It has drawn my focus away from Jesus, and made it easier for me to believe the lie that God is not going to take care of me. He perfectly created the sparrows and the lilies and provides what they need. He breathed His own breath into man when He formed us. He knit me together in my mother’s womb. He knows the exact number of hairs on my head, no matter how many times I change my haircut. He paid the highest price possible by sending His Son and causing them to be separated as Jesus bore my sin on the Cross – and if there had been a higher price, He would have paid that. Why then, would He not provide for me? Why then, would He not care about my future? Jesus tells us to seek the kingdom of God, and basically, let God worry about the rest.
So I’m in process. I’m asking Jesus to help me surrender all my worries, fears, and doubts to Him. To believe the Truth in my head and my heart that He not only IS taking care of my future, but He WANTS to take care of my future…because He loves me. He is working things together for my good, and I will not always be in on the plan. God never says that He will tell us the specifics of what our future holds – but He does say that we can trust Him. When we are seeking Him first, He is faithful to provide the rest. Another song I’ve been listening to is “Already There” by Casting Crowns. Some of the lyrics: “I wish I knew how all my fears and all my questions are gonna play out, in a world I can’t control. When I’m lost in the mystery, to You my future is a memory, because You’re already there. Standing at the end of my life, waiting on the other side, You’re already there.” God knows. He’s here in my present moment, and He’s there in my future. He is excited for the journey we will take together if I continue to rely on Him. He wants me to surrender. I’ve counted up the cost – and Jesus is so worth it. Even when I can’t see past my anxiety, I know that following Him, continuing to life a life worthy of my calling, and surrendering to the power of the Spirit – despite the cost, despite the world and Satan hating me, despite the troubles that WILL come – is a decision that I am standing firm in, because outside of Christ, there really isn’t life.
- For me to continue processing through all these things and learning to surrender.
- For my friends Sarah and Robersy, who are trying to get a visa in order to be able to visit Sarah’s family in Bermuda for Christmas. Pray that all paperwork will be correct and that all meetings would go smoothly. These new friends have been such a blessing and encouragement to me, and their love for the Lord is so evident in the ministry they are doing. Please pray that they have the opportunity to be refreshed and enjoy family time in December.
- Continue to pray for Lily House, for all the women, for all the kids, for the businesses which are now open to the public (huge praise!).