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Monday, November 9, 2020

The High Cost of Following Jesus

By Joe Chesser

     Sometimes we are not honest with ourselves. Sometimes we say the things we think we should say or ask things we don’t really mean.
     Such was the case with the young man in Matthew 19. He approached Jesus with a serious sounding question: “Teacher, what good thing mist I do to get eternal life” (Matt. 19.16). This was a great question! He went to Jesus because he believed he was a “good teacher” (Mark 10.17). It sounds like he was truly willing to do whatever it took to go to heaven, especially when Jesus replied, “obey the commandments” (19.17). He basically replied, “I’ve already done that. What else do I need to do?” (19.20). However, his true heart surfaced when Jesus told him to sell his possessions, give the money to the poor, and follow him (19.21). Although it made him sad, he went away because his wealth was more important than eternal life (19.22). He wasn’t willing to pay the price to follow Jesus.
     Satan wants us to see how close we can get to following Jesus without making a total commitment. He loves it when people ask questions like “Is church attendance a salvation issue?” or “How short can I wear my skirt?” or “How many drinks can I have?” In other words, “What is the least (or most) I can do and still get into heaven?” And then, like the young man above, we decide if Jesus is asking us to do too much.
     But following Jesus is not a matter of “how much” or “how little.” To Jesus, the cost of following him has always been total commitment. For the young man, it meant selling all of his possessions and giving them away. For the apostles, following Jesus meant leaving their jobs (Matt. 4.19-20; 9.9; John 1.43). For Paul it meant reevaluating everything he once held very important (Phil. 3.7). For everyone it means dying to self every day (Luke 9.23); it means carrying our own cross and giving up everything we have (Luke 14.27, 33); it means making no excuses (Matt. 8.21); it means loving Jesus more than our families (Luke 14.26); it means offering our bodies a living sacrifice (Rom. 12.1-2); it means going against the crowds (Matt. 7.13-14); it means holding to the teachings of Jesus (John 8.31); it means crucifying fleshly passions and desires (Gal. 5.24); it means becoming fishers of men (Matt. 4.19); it means living the rest of your life for the will of God (1 Peter 4.2); it means crucifying yourself and allowing Jesus to live in you (Gal. 2.20).
     Even though there is nothing we can do to earn our salvation, following Jesus is none-the-less extremely costly. Following Jesus means holding nothing back. Absolutely nothing! Yet remember, with God, all things are possible (Matt 19.25-26)!
- Joe Chesser preaches for the Fruitland Church of Christ, Fruitland, MO.  He may be contacted at joeandareva@yahoo.com


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