Has It Ever Cost You?
Have you ever come to a point in your walk with God where the decision that you knew the Holy Spirit was pointing you towards was the unpopular decision?
Have you ever gotten to a point where it wasn't about what you wanted but about being with God all the way?
Has there ever been a point, a moment in your journey with the Lord, where you made a choice that cost you just about everything or something profoundly important to you?
If you haven't, then this post isn't for you. If you have, then please continue to read on.
It hasn't been long since I said yes to Jesus. These moments have been more of 10 years of a continuous honeymoon than 10 years of a struggling love story. Though, as much as we like to talk about how great God is all the time (which he is), today I want to talk about how living with the Lord requires a life that will cost you the version of you that you thought you wanted before Christ.
I was listening to a sermon by Vox Church today and got a ping in my Spirit about the topic of what it truly costs to follow Christ. Now, mind you I'm not Jesus, and in my human nature, I'm flawed so bear with me.
The message of making the unpopular decision has been weighing on my heart for some time. I believe that moments, when I come to the end of me and am presented with the choice of letting go of what I want so that I may be able to pursue Christ, are the moments when I realize that saying yes to a love story with my Savior will hurt my flesh but heal and strengthen my soul.
I want to ask you the very same question one pastor asked recently in service:
A couple of months ago, I spoke about how pursuing an intentional relationship with Christ means that we are seeking to be uncomfortable. Well, think about, when was the last time your journey with God brought you to a crossroad, and you had to choose what you want as a person verse what would bring you closer to God?
I believe that as followers of Christ, these are one of our make or break moments (not saying that God rejects you if you don't do something but that these are the moments you fall even deeper in love with him). These are the moments that helped me realized that:
Following Christ is all about letting go of me and embracing him
Following Christ is all about dying to self because in doing so, I find him and ultimately become the woman I know he loves so deeply
Following Christ is not about following the masses but following the Spirit
Following Christ will cost you some of what you thought you wanted as a person prior to Christ because you'll desire him over yourself
I believe that the moments when we are placed in positions to choose Him over ourselves are what makes being a believer so tricky for the world to replicate and comprehend. Following Christ, having a personal relationship with our Savior is a concept that bewilders the masses because God doesn't use guilt, money, fame, or materialistic modus operandi to love us. God isn't about guilt-tripping you and me into faith and accepting Christ. Living solely for the glory of God isn't about what God can do for us. That's why following Christ is so difficult for us (yes, even believers) to truly understand.
Remember what Scripture says:
'For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do. Not from works, so that no one can boast. For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God's gift — so that in the coming ages he might display the immeasurable riches of his grace through his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. He also raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus, made us alive with Christ even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace! But God, who is rich in mercy, because of his great love that he had for us, We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children under wrath as the others were also. In which you previously lived according to the ways of this world, according to the ruler of the power of the air, the Spirit now working in the disobedient. And you were dead in your trespasses and sins.'
We're not believers because of what God can do for us but who Christ is and who he is to us. God didn't assist us in saying yes to Christ because he wanted us to feel guilty (guilt is the prerequisite of selfish works and pride; there is no love there). Instead, the Lord wants us to begin understanding the magnitude of His grace, mercy, and love towards each of us. It's not about how God can make our lives better. Bruh (cue the grammar police)! It's about surrendering every aspect of who we are so that we can join in with the Lord as he uses our lives for his glorification.
Letting go of what your flesh wants (what the world says you should desire) your physical goals so that you can grow closer to the Lord and deepen your relationship with the one that yearns for your soul is a part of what I know following Christ is all about. It's about making the unpopular decision to choose Him over you. It's about saying no to what draws you further from Christ and yes to what deepens your love for him.
When I said yes to Christ, did I know that it would cost me myself? I could say yes, but in all honesty, I hadn't anticipated that the journey would be like this, which makes my soul happy. I didn't know that I would let go of goals I had which were made by the standards of the world, people that were in my life to teach me valuable lessons, and I sure didn't grasp fully that this journey was going to bring me to say this:
I am not strong enough to do life by myself. I, by myself, am the weakest of creation. Though, because of the Lord's immeasurable love, grace, mercy, kindness, compassion, and adoration for a relationship with me, I am stronger than anything man can ever see or create.
Paul says it best:
'For if I want to boast, I wouldn't be a fool, because I would be telling the truth. But I will spare you, so that no one can credit me with something beyond what he sees in me or hears from me, especially because of the extraordinary revelations. Therefore, so that I would not exalt myself, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to torment me so that I would not exalt myself. Concerning this, I pleaded with the Lord three times that it would leave me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness." Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may reside in me. So I take pleasure in weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and in difficulties, for the sake of Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. '
When we release the grasp we hold onto our lives, the need to control, dictate, and selfishly claim our identity as our own, that is when we are most powerful. When we choose the unpopular decision and let go of us, we tap into true love, power, grace, and joy which can only be found in the blood of Christ and boundless love of God alone.
So here are my two questions for you:
When was the last time you made a decision that costed you because you wanted to seek God the most?
When was the last time you died to yourself for the glory of God?
Until next time...