Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Love God First ..... Count the cost....

I have to admit, I find this a hard saying of Christ's
5Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, 26"If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish.' 31Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.
It's a hard one. It's found in Luke 14. Jesus has been, throughout this chapter, saying what it means to follow him. How we should deliberately be kind to people who can't repay us. How those who refuse the invitation to come should not be invited again, but that others should be drawn in and so forth.

And then he says... hate your family, your friends, your very life.
If you don't, you can't follow me.

What do I do with this passage?
I know that God wants me to put him first above all, and maybe that's what this really means. To love God so much that any love you have for anything else would appear to be hatred.

But at initial reading I think... but I love my boy child. I love my parents. I love my hubbie. The friends I have I treasure them. Because I love all these things so dearly, does that mean I can't truly follow Christ?

I think, when it comes right down to it, if God chose to take all this away from me, I would still love him. So then, my love for him is great.

But sometimes I just don't know.... maybe it just means that I have to learn to love God more. And it's the process that makes me a believer...not just blissfully saying : I love God. But its the whole process of turning and realizing and seeing God before all other things.

Perhaps that is exactly what God means in this passage.

Can I truly say I counted the cost before I became a Christian?
No. I didn't. I was a fourteen year old teen in a Christian home.
I didn't know that God would lead me through heartbreak and pain and hurt and sorrow and joy and suffering and awe and wonder.
I didn't really think all that deeply about the fact that Christ died for me.
It started to become more real to me in my early twenties....

It's, as I've studied scripture and talked with God and listened to the quiet voice within and heard good preaching, that the cost of Christ has become more real to me, something that I can better "count". And the Christian I am today, is different than the Christian I was back then. I know more, I care more, I want to reach out more, I want to "be better" "be more" in my relationship with Christ than I ever did back then.

So does that mean I wasn't truly a follower of Christ then?
Does it mean that I am not truly a follower of Christ now? Because I really don't know the full cost of what God will ask of me.

These are good questions to ponder.


jen said...

I've always sort of thought it important to discuss the costs with someone when I'm talking to them about the Lord. I've felt it's really deceptive the way so many talk of coming to Christ as a way of getting our needs met. So often it is preached: Come to Jesus and He'll be your best buddy and you won't need to be lonely anymore! And then, when the tough times really hit, they are the seed that was sown on the rocky soil because their misconception was that life was going to be fun with Jesus.

But you bring up a good point regarding your limited understanding as a teen. I guess that's when we find out if a child or teen is truly His -- later when life gets a little tougher.

I was raised in a Christian home as well, and made a profession of faith as a child. It wasn't real though, and I was "in the world" for a while. It wasn't till I was an adult that I listened to the Father. And quickly learned the costs.

Annette said...

As I thought about this devotion over the day I came to an important realization... that if I hadn't made that initial decision (as in not ME making the decision but in answering the call that God placed on my life) then I wouldn't care about good preaching, bible study, and so forth. I wouldn't have had anything to sustain me through the rough patches.

That was God at work in me, so that I could count the cost with him.

it's one of those circular things I think. You need one to have the other to make it all work. :)