Take a moment , think about it. What do you count as gain ? What are the things that you feel you cannot live without?
Jesus made it clear from the moment he started walking with the disciples that following Him would cost them something. When it comes to the apostle Paul we see in scripture what it costs to follow Jesus. We see the fruit of what happens when we give everything up in pursuit of Jesus.
There is always a cost that one has to count when following something or someone. The costs vary from leaving all that you know behind for the cause that you are following, to even dying for that cause. Jesus talks to His disciples about the cost of following him and He did not withhold what that would look like [Luke 14:25-35]. Jesus talks about this cost as a form of a cross that we have to carry, that unless we carry it; we cannot follow him.
From the times of the apostles to the present times the cost of following Jesus hasn't changed. From generation to generation people have had to turn their back on the life that they knew, to follow Jesus and in some cases even die for Him. From the beginning of His ministry, Jesus did not call His disciples to live a safe life, following Jesus was always a risk but it was worth it. Peter even said the words, that still ring true today, that only in Jesus can we find the words of life (John 6:68)
The apostle Paul had many things that were considered as perfect in his time before he accepted the call to follow Jesus. Paul, was known as a Hebrew of Hebrews, Roman citizen , a Pharisee and from the tribe of Benjamin, etc. All of those were things that people could identify him however, when he came to Christ, Paul counted it as nothing (Philippians 3:5-8). All of the titles that mattered to people, meant nothing in comparison to the reality of Jesus. Being known by Jesus far surpasses being known by people. Titles and accolades may come and go but when you count it all as nothing, the joy set before you will be immeasurable.
When it come to counting the cost it looks different for people, in terms of what they have to lay down to follow Jesus. Sometimes we find that we are so engrossed with what we have achieved over the years that we find it hard to leave all that behind to follow Jesus. The opinion of others have overtaken what God had to say in their lives and laying that aside to allow God's opinion to be the deciding factor is difficult. Jesus will never ask from us that which he hasn’t already sacrificed himself, He put aside the pleasure of heaven and so that he can walk the earth and His life for our salvation (Philippians 2:6). There will be thought patterns, mindsets, traditions, and lifestyles that we have to turn our backs on to follow Jesus no matter the cost. It might cost us our friends, our families and sometimes we might lose the respect of some of the people we love. The apostle Paul lost the respect of the people that he knew because he chose to follow Jesus (Acts 17:32) and he did not try to regain the respect by trying to work things his way, he counted it as nothing.
The cost of Following Jesus hasn't changed and now more than ever our generation we are needed to count the cost just for the joy of knowing Christ. The world needs disciples that are sold out to Jesus so that they can know him fully and the power of his resurrection (Philippians 3:10). What will it cost you to follow Jesus? “are you willing to offer up that cost?”