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What Does it Cost to be a Christian?
Living for God
The bible says in 1 Peter 4:16 "But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian. Praise God for the privilege of being called by his name!" (NLT)
The label "Christian" or "Christianos- khris-tee-an-os" in Hebrew is a follower of Christ. How many of us Christians really understand what Peter was trying to emphasize in the "privilege of being a Christian?"
What does it cost to be a follower of Jesus Christ? What do we have to pay to become a Christian? These are very tough questions that one should consider. We cannot mock God. He has a wonderful sense of humor, but he is always truthful and he never lies. He is a faithful God. Therefore, he deserves our sincere commitment and covenant with him. The moment we decide to accept Jesus in our hearts and live as a believer, as a follower of Christ Jesus, we have established a covenant and commitment with God.
The scripture says "For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God's glorious standard." (NLT)
It is the word of God that testifies that we are all sinners. Our body is alive but our spirit is dead because of our sins. But the good news is, Jesus, the son of the Living God bought us from slavery of sins for a price and that is through his most precious blood. He died for our sins to set us free and give us a new life. Jesus died for you and me... the cost God paid for our salvation is priceless! God gave the life of his only begotten son... as ransom for many that we may be m
What about us brothers and sisters? Are we willing to pay the price to follow Christ? What does it cost to be a real Christian? We should be willing to pay the price if we choose to follow Jesus.
One of the stories in the bible tells us what happened to the young religious leader who asked Jesus what he must do to have eternal life. Jesus told him to obey the commandments and to sell his possessions and give the money to the poor and then for him to come and follow Jesus. That young man went away sad, because he was very rich. He obeyed the law and the commandments but he could not leave his riches, his possessions. They were more important to him than following Jesus. (Matt: 19:16-22; Luke 18:18-23; Mark 10:17-22)
ade right in the eyes of God through the bloody sacrifice of Jesus on Calvary.
Are you willing to take up your cross?
There was another incident in the bible where one of the teachers of religious law said to him, "Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go." (Matt. 8:19 NLT) But Jesus replied, "Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head." (Matt. 8:20 NLT)
Another of his disciples said, "Lord, first let me return home and bury my father." (Matt. 8:21 NLT) But Jesus told him, "Follow me now. Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead." (Matt. 8:22 NLT)
There really are things we have to give up in order to serve God and follow Christ. Things that keep us so attached to the things of this world.
What did Jesus say in Matthew 16:24? "Then Jesus said to his disciples, 'If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me.'"
He also said: "If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple."
In short, the words of Jesus tell us that if we desire to follow him, the moment we accept him as our Lord and Savior, we have to leave everything to follow Him. That means we should not love the world. We are in the world, but we are not of the world. (John 17 :16) The moment we accept him as our Lord and Savior, we belong to Jesus Christ, and that entails responsibility, commitment, time, effort, sufferings, trials, and all the persecutions of being a Christian.
The price of obedience
Following Christ requires the price of obedience, turning from our selfish ways. We should separate ourselves from the things of this world. These two are amounting to laying down our lives for Jesus. That's it! Our whole life... it will cost us our whole life to be a Christian for it is no longer us who lives in this body but it is Christ who is in us.
It is a fact, there will be trials and hardships we met along the way. "But be glad that you are given a part in the pains of Christ, so that at the revelation of his glory you may have great joy." 1 (Peter 4:13)
If we are carrying our cross of persecutions, cross of personal sufferings, or whatever difficult situation we are in, consider it a blessing to suffer for the Lord God in the name of Jesus Christ.
We should not be surprised when suffering or trials come, even if it is unusual for us. Those who follow Jesus are to expect discrimination or persecution...even violent persecution...from godless people who choose to live a life full of evil deeds and darkness. (1 Peter 4:12 NLT)God has a purpose for us in suffering. It brings us into fellowship with Christ Jesus who suffered on the cross before he was glorified. (1 Peter 4:13)
By suffering in fellowship with Christ we can be confident of enjoying the glory that he has already won. Be happy when you are insulted in the name of Jesus (be blessed) for then the glorious Spirit of God is glorified in you. (1 Peter 4:14 NLT)
We need to commit ourselves to doing what is right when we face suffering. Our difficulties may provide an excuse for sinning, but when difficulties come our way, we must live according to the principles of God, Christian lives, characterized by love for others.
God is faithful and sovereign. He controls all the circumstances of life, no matter what you say. Whether you are a believer or non-believer there is one Power that no man can fathom... even science and technology cannot comprehend it... and that is the Power of our Sovereign God. Therefore, the price to pay as a Christian is our obedience; our faithfulness to God, turning from our selfish ways and being separated from the systems of this world, which amounts to giving up our whole life for God.
Our loving response to enemies in the midst of trials can also be a powerful opportunity to witness and share our faith in Jesus. By treating our persecutors with love and kindness, we can make our faith respectable and attractive to them. Even without words, that will speak volumes to the people who do not believe in Christ that you are truly a disciple and follower of Jesus.
The bible says that we will not fear whatever trials come. Just trust God with all of your heart. Stand in the truth of God's word as a Christian. For God says... "Fear not, for I am with you till the end of time..." He also said that "Never will I forsake you nor leave you."
God is our refuge, our rock, our fortress, our strength, and our salvation. What can man do to us? We should not fear. Trust and lean on our Wonderful and Mighty Savior, our Lord God, Jesus Christ. Do not think of how much you suffer for his name, how much you pay just to follow him. He is the eternal Word.
He is the one who said "I am the way the truth and the life, no one can come to the father except through me...” (John 14:6)
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on me hath everlasting life." (John 6:47 KJV)
For Paul said in 1 Cor. 6:17 "But the person who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him."
To be a Christian is to be spiritually joined to Christ in both life and death. As a result, believers' bodies have become parts of Christ.
Are you willing to pay the price? Are you taking seriously your commitment to the Lord Jesus to follow him? I leave that to you... God has given us the free will to decide. It is up to you to take the step.
Lastly, Matthew 5:11-12 says, "God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way."