God’s gift of salvation is free but there is a cost to following Jesus. One cost is putting God first, even ahead of our family. The truth is we can’t really put them in top priority without God. One of the costs of worshipping God is that we have to set aside our worship of family in place of him. But there’s more.
Jesus said, “In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.” (Luke 14:33) His disciples took that literally as did many in the first century church. I think he is saying to all of us that everything we have belongs to God and is to be used for His purpose. Not 10%, but all of it. If we want to follow Jesus it all needs to be submitted to Him for His glory. Do you still want to follow Jesus?
Jesus says, “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’ (Luke 14:28-29) There is a cost to be counted to follow Jesus. You may have to give up friends, job offers, or your reputation in the community. You might endure suffering, persecution, or imprisonment. Are you willing to count the cost so you can finish what you’ve started? Do you really want to be a follower of Jesus?
In the same discussion Jesus says, “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out.” (Luke 14:34-35) The cost of following Jesus is retaining our saltiness, our flavor. It’s required to go all the way with Jesus. What good are we if we’ve lost this essential quality? What would you do with a box of tasteless salt? You’d throw it out. That’s what Jesus does with those who say they follow him but don’t have the flavor of His life in them. There is no lukewarm or unsaltiness in following Jesus. There is no partially committed or renouncing some but not all. There is only carrying the cross and following him. Do you really want to follow Jesus?
So how do we follow Jesus? Jesus says, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.” (John 8:31) None of us do it perfectly. That’s precisely why we need his grace – and power. The key is abiding in Him and letting His Word abide in us, all day, every day, in all circumstances. The proof of being his disciple is bearing fruit of the Spirit. (John 15:8) He says, “Everyone will know you are my disciples, if you love one another” (as he loved us). Do you want to follow Jesus? Then make these your daily aim and your life ambition. Nothing else will do. It’s a cost worth bearing.