The Cost of Faith
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During my work as a missionary journalist and photographer, I had the opportunity to travel overseas to interview people at work in ministry around the world. I talked to many believers who had lost their families—disowned for simply deciding to follow Christ. I met men and women who had been thrown into prison, beaten, or banished because of their faith. Some were even threatened with death.
And I often asked myself what my faith was costing me…
I had no answer. I lived in the U.S., where I could freely worship God. I didn’t have to hide my Bible while traveling to church or fear for my life because of my faith. It cost me very little, if anything, to say the words, “I am a Christian.”
Yet Jesus Himself tells us to consider the cost.
“If you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:27 NLT)
So, what is my faith worth if it costs me nothing?
When Mary took the expensive jar of perfume and poured it over Jesus’ feet, I believe she knew it wasn’t enough. The perfume cost almost a year’s wages—as Judas quickly pointed out. Yet she knelt before Jesus and used her hair to wipe it over His feet. She was indebted to Him, and pouring the same bottle over His feet every day for a year wouldn’t be enough for what Jesus was about to do. It would cost Him his life!
“I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives.” (John 12:24)
Jesus didn’t just say this to explain what He had to do. He was giving His disciples—and us—a glimpse of what we would need to do to follow Him.
“Those who love their life in the world will lose it. Those who care nothing for this life in this world will keep it for eternity.” (John 12:25)
This is the heart of sacrifice. Do we love this life—our lives—more than Him? Or are we willing to give it all up in exchange for eternity with Christ?
So, now I ask myself: Am I willing to pay the cost? Am I willing to go where God calls me to go and speak to whom He wants me to speak, regardless of what it may cost me—my reputation, my career, my family, or friends? Will I surrender my life completely to Christ every single day?
That is our challenge as believers. Each day, we choose to follow Jesus. Each day, we choose to deny ourselves and love Him above all the world and even our own lives. It is a daily decision to take up our cross and follow Him, even though it costs us everything.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
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