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Building up believers and the New Testament church

The Cost of Knowing God

Counting the Cost

At one point, there were great multitudes following Jesus (Luke 14:25-33). They saw something in Jesus that was attractive. All saw from their own perspective, but what they saw attracted them to Jesus. This is true of most men. We see something in somebody else that we like, but the question is whether we are willing to pay the price to make it ours. Everything has a price. God's love moved Him to pay the price to redeem the world back to Himself, and that price was His only Son. What was the price that Jesus put to those who were following Him? "So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple..." (Luke 14:33).

What does it mean to forsake all? Our first response may be that we do not have anything to forsake. We think of the rich young ruler, and it is hard for us to relate to what Jesus told him because we do not think we have any riches. We may not have what this world calls riches, but riches are not just wealth and possessions. Riches are anything we have that is valuable to us. What is valuable to us? Knowledge? Friends? Our job? Our plans? Our opinions? Our convictions? Jesus said that we must forsake all that we have, even our own life. This is the price.

If we are not willing to forsake all that we have and all that we can do, we cannot be disciples of Jesus. And if we are not disciples of Jesus, we can never know God, because Jesus is the only mediator between God and man. There is no other way. The beginning place of knowing God is seeing in reality that I can do nothing, and that nothing I have is of value to God. God is complete in Himself, and He does not need any of my efforts or ability. Jesus said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit," and the "poor in spirit" are those who have a lack (Matthew 5:3). We must sense our lack before we are open to anything God has for us.

Jesus said to those who were following Him that they needed to count the cost. If they were going to count anything else as being of value, they ought not to start, because they would not be able to finish. The cost to us is not something we can do, but rather giving up trying to do what we cannot do. The final thing that we are apt to count most dear is our own life. Jesus said we must yield that also. Our life is to be presented as a living sacrifice to God. What is our life? Is it not our abilities, our goals, our plans, and what we possess in terms of natural resources? Can God bless our plans, our efforts, and our natural abilities? He cannot, or He would be working against us.

The root of sin is finding fulfillment separate from God. Was that not what caused Lucifer to fall? A life that is lived with fulfillment in anything other than God is a living death. If we want God, we must be willing to pay the price, which is all that we have, given up to Him. It is all or nothing--there is no middle ground.

If we do not settle this question in the beginning of our walk with Jesus, we will never know the rich blessings that are ours in Christ Jesus. If we have come to God on the basis of love, this will be the easiest thing in the world. If we have come on any other basis, these demands will seem unreasonable, and we will argue and not pay the price. May the Lord open our eyes this day to see the riches of God, and may our hearts respond wholly to the wooing of the Holy Spirit.