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Count the Cost

[Jesus said,] "Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, 'This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.'  Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.”  (Luke 14:28-33, NIV)

The Church often tries to present salvation in Christ as a “good deal”.  In fact, salvation is and must be a last resort, reserved only for the very worst of sinners.  To be saved, you need to see that you are  as  worse than fornicators, embezzlers, and murderers (Mat. 21:32, 1 Tim. 1:15), worse than the pagans who orgy and offer human sacrifice (Ephesians 4:19), worse even than the Pharisees or Pilate (Acts 2:23, 2:36, 4:10) – as utterly without hope and without God in the world (Ephesians 2:12).

Salvation means death to independence. If you are Jesus’ disciple, you no longer have any autonomy whatsoever.  Every detail of your life comes under His control, including what you eat or wear, where you live and work.  At any time He may  command us to change, and we must jump to obey (Exodus 40:36-37).

You may think, “But so far, Jesus hasn’t interfered that much with my lifestyle”.  Quite likely, it’s because you haven’t  been particularly open to His intervention.

Think about what your kids would eat if they could get away with it.  There is always a conflict between what they want to eat and what you think is good for them to eat.  They are always asking for permission to eat more junk, and they are always complaining when you make them eat vegetables or other things which are good for them. You let them get away with some things, because they would complain too much if you made them eat only what was good for them.

Most of us Christians relate to God the same way our children relate to us.  We are always trying to get away with whatever we can.  We have no interest in developing healthy appetites.  If  He did force us to do as we should, we would do nothing but pout and complain (Numbers 11:4-6).  So He lets us get away with it.  In effect, though we may be His children, we are  not His disciples.

Most of us Christians relate to the Lord the same way they we to the IRS.   When we fill out our tax returns, we  follow the guidelines,  though perhaps stretching some facts and shading some details.  We try to pay the least amount of tax possible,  while still keeping within the rules enough to avoid a tax audit.  For most of us, a tax audit would be a major, major calamity.

Have you opened your life up to the Lord, so that He may do a complete audit?  How much of a calamity would that be? How much of your life reflects the Lord’s desires and standards, and how much reflects the standards and opinions of those around you?

Prayer: Father, forgive me for not being open to Your intervention in my life.  Right now I open myself up to Your audit, and I resolve from now on to live my life to please You and not myself.

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Last Revised: September 19, 2002

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