In the past, I had somehow come to think that devotion to God was a means to get good things in life. A good career, a great family, lots of money and a fancy lifestyle. Don’t get me wrong. These are sometimes good and can be benefitial to us and others around us but there is a problem to this kind of thinking… the number #1 problem being that this is not what God promises. Problem #2 is when we see someone suffering, we start thinking they have sinned and rightly deserve the suffering. If you read the gospel and Bible in its entirety, it becomes evident that Jesus did not promise an easy life. While its tempting to always expect comfort, riches and blessings and favor, in return for our devotion to God, the Bible very clearly says that trouble and pain and even loss don’t simply vanish by following God. If someone tells you that all your problems will end simply by believing in Jesus, its a lie. Jesus says being His disciple isn’t easy and that there is a cost to living a life walking in His footsteps. While it is true that salvation is a free gift made available to us through the sacrifice Jesus offered on the cross and we can never earn salvation by our good deeds or religious rituals, it is also true that being Jesus’ disciple isn’t a walk in the park. Jesus says “count your cost before following me”. There is a cost to following Him. We are called to take up the cross and follow him.
Following Jesus will always come with a cost(if it doesn’t, then its quite possible we have been following a pseodo-Jesus) but there is evidence that it is completely worth it. Irrespective of how successful our life looks like, we have a far greater treasure in Christ. Apostle Paul says,
I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith.
Philippians 3:7-9 NLT
Apostle Paul says that even popular things like keeping the religious laws and rituals pale in comparison to the matchless grace offered by Christ.
Questions to ponder after meditating the scripture
Are you willing to count the cost? What holds you back?
Are you willing to lay yourself at the cross to be like Jesus, even when it gets really uncomfortable or are you merely affiliated to a religious faith and act however you want, disregarding the cost?
Are you using faith as a means to get good things or are you really following the one you claim to follow?