Monday, January 15, 2024

How Much Does It Cost

In every area of life, someone or something determines when enough is enough. When one has had enough to eat; sleep; work; learn and so on. But what about for the believer, especially when it comes to the Christian experience. When does a believer ever forgive enough; love enough; serve enough; give enough, etc.? Although believers have freewill, is it really their decision when they have had enough of the Christian experience? Whether we want to believe or not, the answer is no. Now with that said, God certainly is not going to forbid believers from exercising their own will, but the truth is, "Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s." (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) 

You see, many believers like the idea that all aspects of salvation such as grace, righteousness, prosperity, healing etc. are all free and they are, meaning that we cannot earn them by our works. However, they still come with a price. The moment that a person confesses with the mouth the Lord Jesus Christ, believes in the heart that God raised Him from the dead and takes Jesus as their Savior, they are instantly born again, (2 Corinthians 5:17), but it does cost a price.  First and foremost, it cost God the Father the greatest expense of all. The death of His only Begotten Son. If one truly takes Jesus as Lord and Savior, then, as Paul tells us, "you are not your own? For you were bought at a price" meaning, you and I have just relinquished our rights to the Lord Jesus.

Numerous times Jesus spoke to His disciple about the cost of being one of His disciples. For instance, Jesus says, "My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it.” (Luke 8:21); “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me." (Luke 9:23) "No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62) "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple." (Luke 14:25-26) Jesus goes on and talks about the cost involved in building a tower and going to war. In other word, believers should never come to a place where they have had enough of the Christian experience. In the world, we work hard to earn a living, to perfect a skill, or to become stronger and better in what we do. But do we honestly put as much effort into becoming a stronger, better, child of God? Do we really desire to be such?

Moses was a man who went from a prince of Egypt, to a shepherd, to a man used of God to perform  miracles. He often had unspeakable encounters in God's glory, from the burning bush (Exodus 3); to receiving the Ten Commandments (Exodus 19 - 20); to meeting with God in the tabernacle of meeting that he pitched outside the camp of Israel (Exodus 33:7) Yet in all of these supernatural encounters with God he was not satisfied. He asks God, "Please show me Your glory." (Exodus 33:18) Honestly, to be in the glory of Gods presence just one time, like the burning bush, would be enough for most believers, but not for Moses. He wanted more of God.

The apostle Paul reveals the same, "But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead." (Philippians 3:7-11)      

Every thing that most would consider advantageous to get along or even get ahead in the world as viewed from the natural sense, Paul considered them rubbish in what he had gained in his service of Christ. If that was not enough. he goes on to say "that I may know Him." Without doubt, Paul had a close intimate relationship with Christ. We can ascertain this by the "abundance of revelation" that he received from the Lord. (2 Corinthians 12:7) Yet, like Moses, he wanted more. Paul desired to become fully acquainted with Christ's nature, his character, his work, and with the salvation which He had made available to man. This should be the highest desire in the heart and mind of every believer, to know Christ in a deeper more intimate way. To desire to live in the glory of God's presence. 

Although to some this may sound impossible or even far-fetched, but it is not only possible, but a desire of God for His children. Jesus gives us an invitation, "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." (Matthew 13:28-30) He also tells us, "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit." (John 15:5) What an intimate connection believers have with the Savior. In His prayer for all believers,  He says, "And the glory which You gave Me I have given them." (John 17:22) The writer of Hebrews says, "Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:16) The Apostle Peter exhorts us to, "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." (2 Peter 3:18) The Apostle John tells us, "truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ." (1 John 1:3) 

As we can see, God has a desire to fill us to overflowing and then some. He is inexhaustible in everything. As a matter of fact, Paul tells us, "Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us." (Ephesians 3:20) So let us never be satisfied with our Christian faith at any time. Let us desire to be in God's presence 24/7. As the Psalmist said, "Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart." (Psalm 37:4) Let our desire be HIM!!!                

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