Dear Readers, Welcome back to God's Design Blog! Missed me? Mayne it's such an effort to write consistently, Your girl needs to get back in her zone! I am happy to be here once again. It's been such a rollercoaster year soo far but among all things, God has been good! He is still shaping, testing and as much as I do not like to admit it, teaching me patience, a fruit that apparently is taking a long time to bare in my tree.
(no pun intended) As these warm days turn into chilly nights, I have been keeping myself warm with coffee, books, music and a whole lot of Jesus, where my mind is at ease and tend to wander off reflecting on my Christian journey. At 26, I am still losing what I thought I wanted which brings me to my Blog topic
"What will it cost you?"
Let me elaborate a bit,
"What will it cost you to follow Christ"?
What comes to mind when you hear that topic?
Some of you may think material things in life but this blog topic focuses on just more than that. That concept as a Christian is not foreign to me, in fact I believe I am best friends with that concept but It's time to write about it. I love to use this example of Jesus and the twelve disciples. Jesus was famous for soo many miracles that many loved, adored and worshipped him, yet he only chose a handful of twelve to keep near. Jesus had to be wise in choosing those twelve men I presume as they had to learn from him and follow his ways. Most importantly those men had to understand that Jesus was God's Son and he was important, his assignment was important. Jesus could have had over 1 million friends but he chose twelve? Ever wonder why? Me too! It depicts a bigger picture to me, one that covers, that your relationship with God will equip you to choose your people/company wisely.
If you are/were stubborn like me, God will pull them apart from your life because your assignment and purpose for him is too important for you to be aligned with just anyone. As a believer in Christ, your relationship with God will cost you people and relationships. Are you ready for that surrender?
God is an expert at adding and subtracting from our lives. Remember Job in the bible? He was stripped of all his wealth, children and even his wife turned her back on him. What did Job have? Faith in God! A relationship with God! What did it cost him? Everything but in the end, all and double was given back to him because of his faith in God. If you are reading this and you are in a similar situation like Job, whereby you think you are losing, you think your relationship with Christ is causing people to walk out of your life then my friend you are in the right path. Your faith is being tested. Similar to Job I have had several experiences where I lost it all from jobs, finances and even people who were dear to me. I like to call it my Job season. A season of wilderness indeed.
I am writing this blog to prepare your heart for your Job season, if you have not experienced it as yet, it will appear at least once in your Christian journey and may continue to give you sneaky surprises along the way. Reminiscing now, I have had several conversations with God, asking him why but as I matured, I realized my Christian walk will cost me a lot! I tend to think of the cost Jesus had to bear on the cross in comparison to my whining to God and it seems meaningless, so I tend to keep my mouth shut after.
Do not be surprised when you are faced with the battles in your job, family and personal life. It is often said the life of a believer will never be easy but it will be rewarding. What are you willing to give up? True Christianity is the biggest sacrifice any person ever makes ... but it is in pursuit of the most precious prize ever glimpsed. The great Billy Graham once said " A problem that people face in coming to Christ is a moral problem—meeting the high standards of Christ. Because, you see, Christ demands first place in everything. And you have to come to Christ realizing you’ll have to pay a price. You can’t drag those dirty sins with you. You’ll have to quit your lying. You’ll have to quit sleeping with that person who is not your spouse. You will have to leave that relationship that isn't honoring God. You’ll have to quit cheating in school.
All of these things are costly. Are you willing to pay them? That’s the moral problem. His standards are very high, and He doesn’t change to accommodate Himself to our generation and its changing, permissive standards. He’s the same yesterday, today and forever."
It isn't that exciting or thrilling anymore, right? In my early 20's I eagerly wanted to experience the worldly things but just the thought of it would bring conviction to my soul. I wanted to fit in with a particular crowd. I would cry out to God and ask him why he made me this way. I never knew he was calling me to follow him. He made sure I was uncomfortable in what others deemed as normal. The price I paid was leaving it all behind, relationships, my own desires and fully surrendering to him. Was it difficult? Yes, and still is at times but hey I signed up for this!
The cost is high but the rewards are overflowing. Peter once asked Jesus, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?” (Matthew 19:27). We might paraphrase it like this: “We’ve given up a lot to be here. Is it really worth it?” Some people today might ask the same thing. We have given up a lot — careers, families, jobs, status, pride — in our spiritual journey. Is it worth it? Is there some sort of reward in store for us?
Our labors and sacrifices are not in vain. Our efforts will be rewarded — even if they were based on a misunderstanding. Whenever our motive is right — when our labor and sacrifice are for Jesus — we will be rewarded. Scripture has something to say about rewards. God knows that we ask the question and, in this case, we need an answer. He inspired Scripture writers to talk about rewards, and I am confident that when God promises a reward, we will find it extremely rewarding — far above what we could even think to ask (Ephesians 3:20).
God will reward us generously — but Jesus also warns us that this life is not a life of physical luxury. We will have persecutions, trials and sufferings in this life. But the blessings outweigh the difficulties by a hundred-to-one margin! Whatever sacrifices we make will be richly compensated. The Christian life is certainly “worth it.”
Jesus is not promising to give 100 fields to everyone who gave up a farm to follow him. He is not promising to give 100 mothers. He is not promising to make everyone wealthy. He is not talking in literal terms. He means that the things we receive in the next life will be 100 times as valuable as the things we give up in this life — as measured by real value, eternal value, not by temporary fads about physical things.
Even our trials have spiritual value to our benefit (Romans 5:3-4; James 1:2-4), and this is of greater value than gold (1 Peter 1:7). God sometimes gives us gold and other temporary rewards (perhaps as an indication of better things to come), but the rewards that count most are those that last forever.
Conclusion - (Billy Graham excerpt)
I’ll tell you, I wish we had a million young people right now who would say, “I’ll go where You want me to go and be what You want me to be, Lord.” God is looking for nurses and doctors and business people, and—yes, Christian politicians and Christian leaders—who are ready to step out and pay the price and serve Christ.'
I’m calling you to join His army. March with Him under the banner of the cross, with His love in your heart. But first you’ll have to take that first step, and say, “Yes, by faith I receive You, Lord, into my heart.”
I’m going to ask you to do it right now. Say, “I receive Christ. I want to follow Christ. I want to give Him all the keys in my ring—no matter what the cost. I’m willing to pay the price tonight, whatever it is.”
Don’t let this chance escape. The Bible says, “He who is often rebuked, and hardens his neck, will suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy” (Proverbs 29:1). You may never have another moment in all your life when you’re so close to the Kingdom as you are right now. This is your moment and your hour!