Yea, I know all the perks - I've been around one church denomination or another since I can remember. Grew up Catholic. Spent my college and post-college years Lutheran. And, then had a whole new world opened up to me when I married the son of a Pentecostal pastor.
Most folks know the upside of becoming a believer...even if they aren't all entirely true. Your sins will be washed away - true. You'll have new life - true. Your life will never be the same when you follow Christ - true. And, being in God's will is the ONLY place to be - also true.
Then there's the other perks that some believers and nonbelievers alike attribute to Christians.
"Oh, you'll be so happy all the time" - false. You can have peace, contentment, and joy but on-the-surface happy all the time? Not so much. LOL
"Your life will be perfect and trouble-free." Has anyone that believes this ever *really* read the lives of the apostles? LOL No, your life will NOT be trouble/sickness/challenge free but you CAN have the faith and peace and assurance to get you through those things and much more.
But, has your belief in Christ ever cost you anything? Cost you in terms of "take up your cross and follow me" no matter what? Have you had to give *everything* to follow Jesus? Have you been made uncomfortable by having chosen to stand in your faith? Lost friends? Lost job promotions? Lost relationships with family? Lost your job? Know of someone who has lost their life for their faith?
The sermon we heard today was about the cost and challenge of discipleship. There is just no room (and no time) anymore for half-hearted stuff. The things that Jesus asked of the disciples are still things He asks of us. In this day and age, in this generation, in this era, we still need to put God before *everything* else - even our parents, our families, our spouses, and our children.
Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has [enough] to finish [it -- ] lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see [it] begin to mock him, saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish.' Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.
It's not as radical as it might sound. He gave it all to you - your life, your spouse, your kids, your home, your gifts, your talents, your job, your "stuff", EVERYTHING. So, you have to let it all go and entrust it back to Him for this faith thing to really work. It's the only way to truly be in His will - which is, from my experience as well as dozens of testimonies I have heard, is the only place you'll truly want to be.
So, today it's been running through my head...what's it going to cost me? I've been fortunate that it's cost me very little so far. To my knowledge and as far as I can remember, it has cost me almost nothing. There have been tense conversations and explanations to family. There have been chuckles and rolling eyes from people who knew me before I got back to church. There are people who knew me back-in-the-day and are sincerely shocked to hear that I'm in church and a "holy roller" at that! LOL But, it hasn't cost me anything.
So, I'm also wondering today - is it because I'm not stepping out in faith as I should be? Am I not walking in my faith and walking my walk as I should?
Now, I'm not one to go looking for trouble but I am wondering lately how I "appear" to others - not in the "oh, what will the neighbors think" type of obsession but sincerely wondering how my walk reflects my faith. And, I think lately I'm due some real conviction in this area.
We've met people and just *knew* immediately they were believers without them speaking more than a few sentences. The peace of the Lord is just pouring off of them. But, I don't think that's the impression people get from us at this point. Not a whole lot of the fruit of the Spirit being harvested around here lately. LOL
So, another goal. Another thing to work toward. But, it's gonna cost me. If I need to put things back on track, I'm gonna have to give up something else. If the priorities are shifting, something's gotta go. So, what's it gonna cost me? I'm not sure yet but I'll let you know.