Twice in the last two days, we have read of the cost of being a disciple. Jesus lays out that we are to give up everything. Everything. Not just your laptop or your iPhone. It goes so much beyond possessions. He is requesting our all. Is that something you can commit to?
Here in the United States, we have luxuries that we take for granted that other parts of the world can only dream about. My husband and I have been debating for years whether to move into a house with two full bathrooms instead of the one and a half we currently do. Yes, it would be nice not to have to share a bathroom with the kids, but really in the scope of this world, it is not exactly a necessity. There are people who have the simple hope of an indoor toilet. Here we sit debating the fact that although we have two toilets, should we have two showers as well. Most everyone we know does, so why shouldn’t we?
Really, the Godly answer to that question is that a house with those amenities would cost more and that extra money could be better spent furthering God’s kingdom. It is not exactly the first thing that comes to the average mind in our culture. Bigger, better, best, seems to be our philosophy. Even in an attempt to live humbly in our society, we are still far better off than much of the world.
But, it doesn’t stop there. Jesus calls us to be willing to give up our relationships. I am incredibly fortunate to have been raised by Christian parents. My closest relatives are an asset to my Christian walk. My husband stretches me to work harder and be involved more than my introverted self would sometimes like. My best friend and I openly and frequently discuss our Christian path. I have very little I have to give up in this regard. But, not everyone has the support I have been given.
Some really do have to give up friendships. Some have to give up the relationship they have with their parents. Some have to give up the relationship they have with their children. Christ calls us to be willing to give up anyone that hinders the spread of the kingdom. Anyone.
As if those two things were not hard enough for the average person, this sacrifice goes one step further. We have to give up ourselves. We have a very “me” oriented society as of late. Personal rights and personal freedoms are the holy grail of today. I should be able to live exactly as I please regardless of what that means.
Christ teaches the exact opposite. We should only live for Him. We are called to die to our earthly selves. We surrender ourselves. We die to the body and only live by the spirit in our flesh.
To me, this is the hardest one of all. Most of you know my story. I grew up always wanting to be a mother. It was my dream that defined many of my choices through the years. When my husband and I tried to finally start a family, we were met with failure after failure. Prayer after prayer for MY will went seemingly unanswered. After a few years, I hit the point where I realized I was pursuing MY gain without regard to what God may have planned for my life.
Barlow Girl has a song called Surrender that brings me to tears almost everytime I hear it. It was exactly what I needed to do.
After turning my dreams over and deciding to wait to see what God had planned instead of me, miracles happened. Within two and a half years, three expectant mothers landed in our laps resulting in the two indescribable blessings that I get to call my children. We did nothing to work towards this ending. We never advertised for ourselves. Nothing. We cannot take credit for any aspect of the children we have the privilege of raising. All of it was God at work.
Christ calls us to be willing to give it all. Not just possessions. Not just relationships. Not just our hopes and dreams. ALL. We have to be willing to fully be an instrument for God’s use, not our own. This is completely contrary to what our culture would tell us to do. It is extremely difficult to fully live out because we are almost blind to all that we have and all that is asked of us.
So, how about you? What would you give up?