Over the past few weeks, I have been meeting regularly with one of my good friends to discuss all that God is doing in our lives. Regardless of where we begin each conversation, it seems to always make its way back to the topic of absolute surrender.
Would you consider your life completely surrendered to Christ? Be honest. What did it cost you?
The following story is from the book “Follow Me” by David Platt:
“Ayan is part of a people who pride themselves on being 100 percent Muslim. To belong to Ayan’s tribe is to be Muslim. Ayan’s personal identity, familial honor, relational standing, and social status are all inextricably intertwined with Islam. Simply put, if Ayan ever leaves her faith, she will immediately lose her life. If Ayan’s family ever finds out that she is no longer a Muslim, they will slit her throat without question or hesitation.
Now imagine having a conversation with Ayan about Jesus. You start by telling her how god loves her so much that he sent his only Son to die on the cross for her sins as her Savior. As you speak, you can sense her heart softening toward what you are saying. At the same time though, you can feel her heart trembling as she contemplates what it would cost her to follow Christ. With fear in her eyes and faith in her heart, she asks, ‘How do I become a Christian?’
You have two options in your response to Ayan. You can tell her how easy it is to become a Christian. If Ayan will simply assent to certain truths and repeat a particular prayer, she can be saved. That’s all it takes.
Your second options to tell Ayan the truth. You can tell Ayan that in the Gospel, God is calling her to die. Literally. To die to her life. To die to her family. To die to her friends. To die to her future. And in dying, to live. To live in Jesus. To live as part of a global family that includes every tribe. To live with friends who span every age. To live in a future where joy will last forever.”
Ayan is not imaginary. She is a real woman who made a real choice to follow Jesus. It cost her a relationship with her family who opposed Christianity. It cost her the only friendships she had. Although the risk was high, the reward was worth it.
Let’s take a look at some Scripture to see what it means to follow Jesus:
On the road someone asked if he could go along. “I’ll go with you, wherever,” he said. Jesus was curt: “Are you ready to rough it? We’re not staying in the best inns, you know.” Jesus said to another, “Follow me.” He said, “Certainly, but first excuse me for a couple of days, please. I have to make arrangements for my father’s funeral.” Jesus refused. “First things first. Your business is life, not death. And life is urgent: Announce God’s kingdom!” Then another said, “I’m ready to follow you, Master, but first excuse me while I get things straightened out at home.” Jesus said, “No procrastination. No backward looks. You can’t put God’s kingdom off till tomorrow. Seize the day.” – Luke 9:57-62 (MSG)
“Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple”. – Luke 14:25-33 (ESV)
What has following Jesus cost you?
Although following Jesus will certainly cost you something and in most cases, everything; I encourage you not to focus on what you will lose, but whom you will gain. In Jesus, you will find someone worth losing everything for. In Christ, you will encounter a love that surpasses comprehension, a satisfaction that supersedes circumstances, and a purpose that transcends every other possible pursuit in the world.