In (Matthew 16:24-25), we see Jesus preparing His followers for a life-time of persecution and difficulty. Teaching them to count the cost, He said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” Many who sought to follow Him failed the test, for they “…went back and walked with Him no more” (John 6:66).
Most understand the concept of counting the cost as it applies in the market place, but when considered in a spiritual sense it is of far greater significance for it has eternal implications. Christians today must recall the time when they believed, repented, confessed the name of Jesus Christ and were baptized into His name (Galatians 3:27). The commitment made at that time called for a new and better way of living, for they belonged to the eternal one. Are we still living our confession?
Walking in Christ requires giving up the old-man lifestyle which focused primarily on the world and its things. The apostle Paul, in his letter to the church at Corinth, penned “…if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). He admonished disciples to become new in all things pertaining to life and godliness.
So what has your discipleship cost you? What have you given up? Have you denied yourself, daily shouldering your cross for the beloved one? Jesus put this present life in perspective when he said, anyone who wants to follow Me must “…deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me” (Luke 9:23). He let all know that seeking eternal life was a daily duty, not a some-time thing. Following Him is worth far more than anything associated with this present earthly walk.
For those blinded by the god of this world, Jesus provided the following instructions for correcting spiritual vision problems: “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul” (Matthew 16:26)? History books are filled with records of mean-spirited men whose major goal in life was attempting to control land and people. Such seekers will have no solid ground on which to stand; nothing to trade for their soul.
Jesus is coming again, and when He does, He “…will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works” (Matthew 16:27). With eternity in mind, disciples must truly count the cost of remaining faithful to the end, for “…whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matthew 16:25).
Are you faithful to His cause? If so, you have found the blessings in Christ Jesus to be refreshing and rewarding (John 10:10)?