The Cost of Following JESUS

The Cost of Following Jesus—Devotional Reading and Podcast

“And He went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. Then one said to Him, ‘Lord, are there few who are saved?’ And He said to them, ‘Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.'” Luke 13:22-24

Most of us agree that Jesus’ sacrificial offering of dying on the cross at Calvary is a priceless gift and His love for humanity is incomparable which raises the question, “What am I willing to do for Christ?” For a relationship to be reciprocal, both individuals are required to do their part. Love, faith, trust, and going above and beyond for each other are the expectation for growth and stability.

Yet there appears to be a conflict in our relationship with Christ. We desire His love, grace, mercies, protection, peace, joy, and material blessings. Yes, we love to receive. When facing unresolvable challenges, we ask God for His Divine Intervention, yet we do not have the desire to reciprocate. We expect much from our Heavenly Father but give very little.

“…that if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9)

Acknowledgment of Jesus’ deity and confession of our sins, allow us to receive righteousness by [our] faith which is imputed by Jesus through grace. Salvation is accepting Christ as our Lord and Savior and believing wholeheartedly that God raised His Son from the dead and we are saved from our sins. There are no complexities in the Plan of Salvation. Accepting Jesus is so simple that little children can understand. Thank You, Holy Spirit!

If salvation is simple, then why do so many Christians fall short of God’s expectations? Because staying on the Path of Righteousness requires daily entrance through the “Narrow Gate.” We are required to take up our cross and follow Christ. Surrendering our will every day to Christ is taking up our cross. Faith and obedience are two-character traits that God requires for everyone who proclaims, I am a Christian.

We struggle with righteousness because our hearts are not fully dedicated to Christ. Although we would never renounce our belief in God, we cannot enter the narrow gate because of one sin, Disobedience. Under the giant umbrella of disobedience are the personal sins of each person which grow from the desires of their hearts.

We are accustomed to abiding by governmental laws, city ordinances, and employer policies which only give room for the smallest margin of error, yet most breaches include a reprimand or disciplinary action. Sadly, we place a higher priority on laws and policies than on God’s forgiveness, grace, and mercy.

The assumption of God freely giving us the benefits that are reserved for the righteous propels us to continue to live according to our desires. Our prevailing thought, God will forgive is true. Yes, He forgives us but true repentance is possessing the sorrow for our sins along with the commitment to cease sinning. Intentional and wilful sins create the sin of pride which is another detour from living righteously—now we have the sin of presumption to add to our growing list of sins.

Because God is loving and fair, “…He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45).

Disobedience changes our spiritual status from righteous to unrighteous. The one sin that causes disobedience also compromises our morals, values, and loyalty to God. When we no longer feel guilt [having conflict in our minds] regarding our sins then we have grieved the Holy Spirit. Our free will of choice is a gift that God will never take away even if it leads to us being lost.

“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful;…” (Romans 1:28-31)

We are living in a modern Sodom and Gomorrah where every imaginable sin is at the highest level. No one is exempt from the internal war of carnal desires that rages within us.

We can’t live righteously without Divine Intervention. The only way for us to escape the penalty of sin and enter the narrow gate is to take up our cross and follow Jesus. With careful consideration, we can agree the cost of following Christ is cheap compared to the debt of sin which is the second and final death.

Surrender, confession, and repentance flows from the heart who is full of love for God. We need the anointing, power, and presence of the Holy Spirit to enter the narrow gate. The cost of following Christ is to give up our natural desires of the heart. Our relationship with Jesus is one of a vine and branch. We are the branches who can do nothing unless we receive our spiritual nourishment from Jesus Christ, the Vine.

Prayer: God, we ask for forgiveness for our disobedience against You. We thank you for the greatest gift of Your Son, Jesus. We desire to enter the narrow gate every day and surrender and commit our hearts, minds, and souls to You. Jesus, we love You and ask this prayer in Your Holy Name, Amen.

© 2023 Steps2successwithspiritualsolutions

Author: steps2successwithspiritualsolutions

It takes courage, perseverance, faith, and trust to serve God in today's unstable world. Yet, we are never alone. Pray daily and pray often. Study the Bible. The Scriptures are a Love Letter from God to those who accept Jesus as their personal Savior. You will receive comfort, knowledge, and wisdom. God says, "I have loved you with an everlasting love." Jeremiah 31:3. Be blessed in Jesus' name. Amen.

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