Jesus Christ tells those considering following Him that it will be tough. It will cost you all things.
whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.
“All things” here means “all things.” Like, everything. Your life. Your family. Your possessions. Your career. All things.
Now, this will look different for each person. It will depend on where you’re coming from. But be not deceived: following Christ will cost you.
The basic idea is that if you follow Christ, you’ll have to decide over and over again: will I do what Christ says, or will I do what allows me to keep my stuff?
The Bible is very honest and open about this cost. Paul explains the cost in his own life in Philippians.
Ever since I was 3, people told me “Philippians is a book about joy.” Certainly joy is in Philippians; but suffering and loss are in there about as much.
Why isn’t Philippians ever described as a book about suffering?!
Because no one wants to hear about suffering; we are all about the happy-happy, joy-joy. today.
Paul says that he suffered the loss of all things to gain Christ. Paul wrote Philippians from jail. Paul talks about how he had no other man besides Timothy to help him. He was alone and rotting in prison.
Paul did have joy, but the reason he had joy is because he was looking forward eternal life after death! He wanted to die when he wrote Philippians–the strait between two; his desire to depart, which is far better.
How we translate that into your best life now and health and wealth happiness is beyond me.
Many years ago church people actually read the Bible. They discovered that the Bible used harsh terms about following Christ.
These church people realized that if they went with that message, no one would sign on.
So church people told outsiders that the Gospel would make them happy, rich, and healthy. You’ll have a stronger marriage and better kids. On and on the lies went.
People signed up. Churches got full and church people got paid well. It was a sweet deal for everyone involved.
Until they died.
Notice this is the same thing Israel did in the Old Testament. “Peace, peace when there is no peace.” The false message of the false prophets won the day, which kept everyone happy.
Until they died.
We’re doing the same thing today. There’s nothing new under the sun.
There is a cost to following Christ. If church people had stuck with New Testament teaching, they would been rejected and impoverished, and would have taken part in the suffering Christ spoke of.
But people don’t count the cost anymore. Today we count the benefits we imagine the Gospel will bring us.
If you stick with the real Gospel and teach it, you’ll lose friends, cause tension in your family, you’ll be disrespected and maligned. You’ll feel lonely and misunderstood.
It’ll cost you. It will hurt and won’t be much fun.
It’ll also drive you to hope, which is the only thing that brings true joy and peace. This was Paul’s point in Philippians: my life is pretty terrible, so much so that I want to die. But after death! After death is when I get my glory! So I’ll let that hope buck me up and I’ll stick with the Gospel and I’ll keep serving and suffering until that day comes.
Too many people are holding too tightly to the wrong life and the things of the wrong world.
Let go of this life, this world and its things and lay hold on eternal life. Let hope drive you and lead you to true joy. Not dependent on material, temporal success, but on eternal hope.
Count the cost. Are you wiling to lose everything in this world to gain the next world?