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What does it mean to count the cost?
Count the cost— a command from Jesus
In the last several weeks I meditated at the words of Jesus from Luke 14:28 (TLV)
For which of you, wanting to build a tower, doesn’t first sit down and figure out the cost, to see if he has enough to finish it?
When we plan to buy a property, or to renovate our house or room, or when we think of the education of our children, or when we plan a vacation, it is wise to ask ourselves ‘what does it cost?’ Many would save themselves much trouble and headaches if they would only remember this question.
What does it cost is one of the most important questions in life. And we use it more often than we like to admit. However, there is one subject on which it is specially important to count the cost. The subject is discipleship and the salvation of our souls.
What does it cost me to be a genuine believer and disciple of Jesus? And what does it cost me to live a holy life?
I know Jesus paid the price for my salvation
Most importantly, let there be no mistake of what I am talking about when I say count the cost. Indeed, I know that only the blood of Jesus made atonement for my sins. Salvation is by grace alone, and by faith alone, and in Christ alone. So, I am not talking about that!
I am talking about the price one needs to pay for being a disciple of Jesus. I am talking about the price of living a holy life and of serving the Lord. It costs little to be a mere outward Christian. All one needs to do is to attend a congregation twice a week, live a moral life, and he will be ahead of the majority of the people around him. However, this is cheap and easy work!
But if you want to be a Christian according to the standards of the Bible, it will cost you. Needless to say that there are enemies to overcome, battles to fight, and sacrifices and efforts you need to make. You need to carry your cross, run the race, and face many hardships. In the words of J. C. Ryle
Conversion is not putting a man in an arm-chair and taking him easily to heaven. It is the beginning of a mighty conflict, in which it costs much to win the victory.
Therefore, what does it cost exactly to be a true believer?
1. If you count the cost you will realize that you need to renounce your self-righteousness.
You will have to give up your pride and renounce the thoughts that you are a good man. Yes, you must admit you are as a lost sheep in need of salvation and guidance. You must give up your morality and good deeds, and put your trust only in Jesus Christ for your salvation. And this can sound like a hard thing for too many.
2. If you count the cost you will realize that you need to renounce your sins.
Indeed, one must be willing to give up every habit and practice which is wrong in God’s eyes and against of His Word. A person who counts the cost must count all sins as his deadly enemies and hate them. Moreover, you must love holiness as much as God loves it and hate sin as much as God hates it!
All the sins must be thoroughly renounced— whether secret or public, small or big. One must fight them and crucify them with the help of the Holy Spirit, no matter what the world around him says. Again, in the words of J. C. Ryle
Christ is willing to receive any sinners. But He will not receive them if they will stick to their sins.
3. If you count the cost you will realise that you need to renounce your sluggishness.
As someone said, a Christian must daily watch and pray and stand on his guard, like a soldier on enemy’s ground. As a matter of fact, he must watch over his behaviour every hour of the day, no matter where he is, in public or private, among strangers or brothers. Likewise, he must watch over his time, tongue, thoughts, imagination, motives, and conduct, every minute of his life; and must be diligent about his prayer life, reading the Bible, fellowship with the church, worship, sharing his faith with others and serving the Lord.
Nobody can practice all of these perfectly, all the time, but he must not give up on any of them. I know we do not like to trouble ourselves, but there is no other way for a Christian. I know that for many this is a cost too high to pay. Therefore, count the cost before you start following Jesus.
4. If you count the cost you will realise that you need to renounce the favour of the world.
I remember after my conversion, my old friends started to call me crazy and making me a fanatic. Well, I had to change my friends! Anyone who follows the Lord radically will lose the favour of the world. But if you lose the favour of the world you gain the favour of the Lord! So, count the cost! Is it worth it for you? You cannot have the friendship of the world and the friendship of God in the same time— read James 4:4.
I know we do not like to be slandered, unjustly accused of bad things— it is never pleasant to be in such a position. It costs much to be a genuine believer. And friend, if you think you can keep your self-righteousness, your sins, sluggishness and the favour of the world and call yourself a Christian or a believer in Jesus/Yeshua at the same time, you are deceived!
A Christian needs to renounce anything that stands between him and heaven. As someone said, a cheap Christianity, without a cross, will prove in the end to be a useless Christianity, without a crown! A religion that costs nothing is worth nothing. So, count the cost!
Many believers are paying with their life these days for their faith. You know why? Because they did count the cost! And for
And if you want to learn more about counting the cost in your battle with sexual sin then make sure you read Clean by Douglas Weiss— excellent book!
Do you agree?
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I am a blogger, writer, pastor, Director of Zion Romania Bible School, husband to Olguta, a father and, most importantly, a child of God. I also completed my studies at the King’s University where I earned a B.A. in Theology with a concentration in Messianic Jewish Studies. I love Israel and I love the ‘Jewishness’ of the Bible.