Because of horrible evangelism, religious lies, and itching ears, a majority of people have been led to believe that becoming a Christian is as easy as praying a simple prayer and requires very little cost or no cost at all. However, the Lord Jesus Christ has declared very clearly in the Bible that it will indeed cost you — it will cost you everything…
(1) You will have to turn away from all your sins
Being a Christian will cost you your sins; you cannot be a Christian if you’re unwilling to forsake them. This is called repentance, and Jesus declared that unless you repent, you will perish in Hell. We are called by God to repent of our sins and turn to Him because He has fixed a day on which He will judge the world. You don’t have to clean up your life before you come to Christ; no, my dear friend, come to Him now as you are. You just have to make up your mind about giving up your sins. You must stop, turn around from following after sinful lusts, and begin following after Christ, calling upon Him to help and He will remove sin from your life as you follow His lead and obey His word.
(James 2:19-20; Mark 1:15; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 17:30-31; 26:20; Luke 13:3; Psalm 7:12; Revelation 2:16)
(2) You will have to forsake your desires & affections
Being a Christian will cost you all desires and affections which oppose the will and word of God. You will have to continually be on guard to rid your life of all the things that God hates and declares to be wicked. If you are unwilling to give up these unrighteous desires, you cannot be a Christian. God commands His people to hate evil and love good; to abstain from every form or appearance of evil; to flee from immorality, lust, idolatry, and greed. We are commanded to pursue righteousness, justice, and godliness. And this means all the things we fill our lives with will be determined by God’s word—the movies or television we watch, music we listen to, clothes we wear, and everything else on which we may set our affections.
(Psalm 97:10; Amos 5:15; 1 Thessalonians 5:22; Ephesians 5:11; 1 Corinthians 6:18; 10:14; 1 Timothy 6:10-11; 2 Timothy 2:22; Philippians 1:10; 4:8; Psalm 119:97, 128)
(3) You will have to surrender over your dreams & aspirations
Being a Christian will cost you all dreams and aspirations you may have that do not align with the will of God for your life. If you’re unwilling to completely shift the focus of your life away from yourself and your previous aspirations and toward Christ and doing His will, you cannot be a Christian. We are commanded to do absolutely everything—down to something as small as taking a drink of water—with the focus of bringing God glory. We are even called to take every thought captive and make them obedient to the will of Christ. That means if you’re worrying about becoming rich, well-off, famous, or whatever, you’re going to have to cast this behind you. Jesus declared that our primary and preeminent focus is to be on His kingdom above all else. We serve the Lord, not vice versa; and He calls His people to carry out His will, not theirs; we pray for His kingdom come, His will be done, not ours. He is Lord over our life, and His disciples must live their lives accordingly.
(1 Corinthians 10:31; 2 Corinthians 10:5; Matthew 6:10, 33)
(4) You will have to give up all your finances & possessions
Being a Christian will cost you all your finances and possessions. If you’re not willing to transfer all ownership of your money and possessions over to Jesus Christ, you cannot be His disciple. He owns everything in your life—including your life—and as a Christian you must acknowledge and submit to this. All that you have, you no longer use it for yourself but for Him—for His sake, His glory, His kingdom. And the things which cannot be used for these things must go. The money you have, which itself comes from God, you no longer use to buy foolish things for yourself but for the things which He approves and is glorified in. Christ commands us not to store up treasures on earth, but to store up treasure in Heaven. Your treasure will reveal your heart. If you’re all about money or heaping up this world’s goods, then your heart is with this world which will pass away. What will it profit you if you gain the whole world but lose your soul? If you seek to keep this world’s goods, you will lose both them and your soul. You cannot serve both God and wealth.
(Luke 9:23-25; 14:33; Matthew 6:19-21, 24)
(5) You will have to leave behind your family & friends
If you love your parents, siblings, spouse, children, family, friends, or even your own life more than Christ, you cannot be His disciple. Your love for Christ must be so extreme and preeminent that it makes your love for everyone else, in comparison, look like hatred. Jesus declared that He had not come to bring peace and tolerance amongst one another on the earth…He came, rather, to bring a sword of division, to set a person against the members of his own household for the sake of obedience and loyalty to Him. If your family criticizes you in regard to following Christ, or pressures you to go on a route that opposes the will of God, you will have oppose them for Christ’s sake. If you have friends who love to sin and could care less about Christ, you’re going to have to leave them behind…but if you are true to the Lord and serious about following Him, they’ll end up hating you eventually anyway. However, Jesus promises that whoever has left houses or parents or siblings or friends or spouses or children for His name’s sake will receive many times as much and will inherit eternal life.
(Matthew 10:34-37; 19:27-29; Luke 14:26; 18:28-30; 1 Corinthians 5:11; 15:33)
(6) You will have to renounce your reputation & status
If you are unwilling to count as loss for Christ’s sake your reputation and status, and what people think of you, you cannot be a Christian. You must count all these things as rubbish in view of the surpassing value of knowing the Lord Jesus Christ. You must cast off any false notion that you are someone important, someone of worth, one with wisdom and strength, and realize you indeed are one who is broken, lowly, foolish, and weak. The message of the cross is foolishness to the world, and in coming to Christ, believing His word, and obeying His commands, you will also be esteemed utterly foolish by them. But you must embrace the reproach of Christ that will come your way. If you hold faithfully to Christ, you will be ridiculed, despised, mocked, and slandered.
(Philippians 3:7-8; 1 Corinthians 1:18, 21, 26-28; 3:18; 4:9-13; Luke 6:22-23)
(7) You will have to abandon your comforts & easy living
If you are unwilling to take on the demanding lifestyle of a disciple of Christ, you cannot be a Christian. Jesus declared that the vast majority of mankind will end up in Hell, and that there are many who desire to enter into eternal life but will not be able to. He exhorted His disciples to strive to enter into the kingdom of God, because only those who violently press into it will enter. The Christian life is not one of luxury or complacency, but one of self-denial and discipline, vigilance, always being on the alert, always taking heed and being careful, always striving, pursuing Christ, fighting the good fight of faith, and laying hold on eternal life. The Bible says we must enter the kingdom of God through many trials and tribulations, and all who desire to live godly in Christ will suffer persecution. You will be hated, excluded, insulted, scorned, slandered, and abused on account of Christ—you may even be killed—but be of good cheer, for these things you are blessed, and your reward will be great in Heaven.
(Luke 6:22-23; 13:23-24; Matthew 7:13-14; 11:12; John 15:19; 1 John 3:13; Acts 13:40; 14:22; 2 Timothy 3:12; 1 Peter 5:8; 1 Timothy 6:12; Mark 13:33; 1 Corinthians 9:27; 10:12)
(reblogged from DEFENDING – CONTENDING)
See also: Four Responses to Coming Persecution