I hope that question provokes you. But don’t answer it too quickly.
I remember a time in my Christian walk where God asked me a pointed question: “Are you willing to pay the price to go where I want to take you?” Just as I was about to answer the question with a “Yes, Lord,” He said, “Don’t answer without considering the cost.”
In obedience, I thought about it, prayed about it, and considered it from all angles. I determined I was willing to pay the price, even though I didn’t know what the price was, exactly. I went back to the Lord and told Him I was ready and willing. He responded, “You will pay a very dear price.”
It didn’t scare me, but I knew He was serious. I didn’t know what He meant and I didn’t know just how soon I would pay that price, or at least begin paying it. Within months, He totally changed my associations, my ministry and my life. To obey His call, I had to give up positions, titles, friends and more. I didn’t realize what was happening at the time and it was painful. It was part of that “dear price.”
I got more clarity recently when I was reading Philippians 3. Paul the apostle was explaining that we should have no confidence in the flesh (to me, that includes titles, positions, money and anything other than God.) Paul discussed how had plenty of reasons to trust in the flesh. He was circumcised on the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of Hebrews, as touching the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
Wow. Paul had a lot going for him under the religious system of the day. But he was willing to pay a dear price. He was willing to forsake all of that status, title, position and reputation in exchange for knowing Christ better. Let’s listen in to his words in Philippians 3:7-11.
“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.”
I realized that by giving up all that I had given up, by willingly walking away from all that I had worked for in ministry, I was taking advantage of an opportunity to know Christ better. When I looked at it from that perspective, the loss didn’t seem so great anymore. The loss was no longer a loss, per se, it was a seed sown in righteousness that would bring a harvest in the knowledge of Christ. It was painful, but it was worth the price.
What about you? What loss are you willing to suffer in order to win Christ? Don’t answer to quickly. Just follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. He may not be asking you to give up anything right now. But there could come a day when He asks you the same question that he asked me. I’m here to tell you it’s always worth it to pay the price to follow Jesus.