"What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ--the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith." -- Philippians 3:8-9
Have you ever tried to tear off a piece of packing tape (or section of toilet paper, for that matter), only to find that it begins to shred on the roll? Recently that happened to me. After struggling for several minutes tediously trying to peel back the shreds and unroll the packing tape so that it tore off evenly across the roll, I looked at the name on the label and discovered that my husband had picked up a bargain brand in order to save some money. Honey, don't skimp on my packing tape. Some things are worth the extra cost!
That little incident got me to thinking about things in life that are worth the cost. For someone who wants a decent job, a college degree is worth all the late nights cramming for exams, writing lengthy research papers, and working an extra job to pay the tuition. For a woman who is cradling a newborn, no amount of labor pains or post-partum sleep deprivation can steal the joy of holding that armful of love. We go through our entire lives paying the cost for things worth having. How many of us, though, are willing to pay the cost of following Christ?
Jesus tells us that as his disciples we will pay a high cost to follow him. We will have to give up certain relationships, sinful habits, and the idols of fortune and fame. We will suffer hardships, persecution, and ridicule for the sake of the Gospel. Jesus was willing to pay the ultimate cost, his own life, to give us a life of freedom from sin rather than eternal separation from him.
Are you willing to pay the cost of being his disciple? I have learned that it is far more costly to follow Christ with a divided heart than to give him my full devotion. It is far more costly to dabble in sin than to strive to live in the holiness that he requires because he is holy. The cost of following Christ is indeed high, but the freedom and peace that come from a life of obedience and wholehearted devotion to him is worth the extra cost.