The Cost of Following Jesus – Part I
Key Verse: Luke 9:23
“…If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me.”
Additional Reading: Luke 9:21-27
To me, it’s an interesting question that Jesus was asking the crowd: “if you want to be my follower”. In other words, He was challenging them to think about how much they really wanted to follow Him.
All of us probably say things like: “I would like to play an instrument…”. But many times, we never do anything to go down that path. If we do start down a certain path, we may find that the cost is too much. It takes too much time and energy to do the learning and practice it takes to play an instrument. We really could do most of the things we wish about if we were willing to pay the price.
Jesus was challenging those that said they wanted to follow Him to count the cost before they started down that path. Jesus laid out for them the cost involved in being his follower and the cost is the same for us. Give up our ways of doing life nad pick up our cross and follow Him.
The first step may be the hardest for many people. Not doing life the way we want to is difficult. Someone said that an extremely high percentage of people are “control freaks”. I think whoever said this was accurate. We like to do life that way we have become comfortable in doing life, even in the face of a better way of doing life. Jesus challenges us to let go of many of the ways we like to do life so that we do life like He wants us to.
Think about it using this example. Old shoes don’t serve us the way they once did. But they are so comfortable. We can’t seem to throw them away.
Do you have some comfortable ways that you know are not pleasing to God? There is likely a price for you to pay to go God’s way in this area of your life. Answer the question honestly: “do you truly want to follow Jesus?”.
The second step Jesus talked about is taking up our personal cross. This is symbolic. Jesus gave up his own desires and chose to go His Father’s way and get crucified. Taking up your cross means to give up your desires and choose to go God’s way.
This is not the same cross that Jesus had to carry. It’s probably not the cross that your friends may be asked to carry. We all have our own cross to carry, and we must carry it if we plan to be a follower of Jesus.
Here are some identifiable characteristics of this symbolic cross. It is something that is unwanted, a dreaded thing. It is a painful thing. All of us avoid as much pain as possible. It is always hard to accept something that we know ahead of time will cause us pain. But the cross you must pick up to follow Jesus is painful. Finally, a third characteristic is that our family and friends will probably not understand why we would agree to carry it. Jesus had people telling him not to go to Jerusalem, not to die on a cross – save himself from the pain.
We’ll look at the third step tomorrow, but for now: do you truly want to follower Jesus?
Father, I want to be your follower. Grant me courage to carry my “cross”. In Jesus’s Name, amen.