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Follow Me: The Cost

Over the last few months, we’ve spent a lot of time discussing how the journey of following Jesus begins. I hope you see His invitation as an exciting beginning to the most incredible adventure you will ever experience!

But it’s only fair to tell you that following Jesus isn’t always easy. In fact, following Jesus comes at a cost.

I don’t say that to scare you away. But it’s important to understand what we agree to when we follow Jesus. Jesus made it clear to those in His sphere that following Him would not be a life of ease. They would need to be willing to leave everything, including their families and worldly comforts, behind (Matthew 8:18-22, 19:16-24). Peter, Andrew, James, and John demonstrated this when they left their families, homes, livelihoods … everything they knew to follow Jesus (Matthew 4:18-22, 19:27).

It looks different for each of us, but the root of it is always the same: following Jesus comes at a cost.

“Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?’”

Matthew 16:24-26 (ESV)

I’m a very driven person. I love to dream and then work to make those dreams a reality. Those characteristics are part of how God designed me to fulfill His purpose and plans. But left unchecked, those character traits can become idols that cause me to become frustrated and even bitter when things don’t work out the way I plan.

Over the years, I’ve learned that I must surrender my hopes and dreams to Christ Jesus, seeking His will above my own. I’d love to say I do this well, but I still struggle, even after many years of practice. The Lord has been faithful in teaching me to recognize what is happening in those moments so that I turn those feelings over to Him more quickly now, but it’s still challenging at times.

Why do I wrestle with the Lord when my plans fail? Because it means things didn’t turn out how I wanted them to–I didn’t get my way.

I’ve come to understand that when we say we will follow Jesus anywhere, that means anywhere He wants to lead, not anywhere that we think best.

Fourteen years ago, when I realized He was inviting me to teach women, I was confident that would mean a life in vocational ministry. Fourteen years later, He has not opened that door to me. And sometimes it’s really painful to feel like He’s not giving me what I desire.

But He is faithful. And His plans are best. As I’ve walked alongside Him over the years, I’ve learned the key to truly following Jesus is complete surrender to His authority and plans for our lives.

It is so hard to lay a piece of our heart at the feet of Jesus in total submission to His lordship, isn’t it? But that is what following Him requires.

Often, He asks us to surrender the things that matter most in our world. Our families, our dreams, our finances, our health, the list could go on.

I’m not saying He will ask you to leave your family behind. But He does expect you to trust Him with their lives. As a momma, that is hard. They’re our babies! But they are His beloved creation. So, we must trust God with our children, spouses, and parents–all the people we cherish.

God isn’t unkind to His children. He won’t put a dream in our hearts and then snatch it away with a sinister laugh. But He will ask us to search our hearts to see if the dreams we dream of are ours or His. If they’re ours, we must be willing to trade them in for the dreams He wants to give us. Only then will we be able to follow where He leads.

Money is a constant worry for many of us. We want to provide for our families and give our children the best lives possible. But money can quickly consume our thoughts and our hearts. The need for it can quickly replace our desire to seek the face of our Holy God as we try to provide for our family in our own strength. It can make us think we’re in control, forgetting every animal in the forest, every bird in the mountain, and every creature in the field belongs to Him; the world and all that is in it are His (Psalm 50:10-12)! He can supply all our needs if we trust Him, but we must fully surrender to His Lordship.

Friend, the most challenging part of following Jesus is submitting our lives, hopes, dreams, families, finances, health … everything to Him. But it is required if we want to follow Him.

And the answer to whether we can truly follow Him comes down to these two questions: Do you trust Him? Is He Lord of your life?

It can sound a little daunting, but surrendering to Jesus is absolute freedom. When we submit to His lordship over every aspect of our lives, He becomes our leader. We can trust that the One who spoke creation into existence, who formed us in our mother’s womb, who knows the infinite details of beginning to forever, is the One directing our steps. The pressure is removed from our shoulders. We simply have to follow where He leads.

Jesus is the One who does the real work: He sees, invites, and leads us where we need to go. Our role is to submit and follow His voice.

So, sweet friend, do you fully trust Jesus? Is He truly the Lord of your life? I encourage you to surrender it all to Him and let the journey begin!

This month, let’s meditate on:

“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

Matthew 10:37-39 (ESV)

“Now when Jesus saw a crowd around him, he gave orders to go over to the other side. And a scribe came up and said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” Another of the disciples said to him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead.” Matthew 8:18-22 (ESV)

Let’s pray:

Sovereign Lord, You are my Rock and my Redeemer. You are Lord of all. I lay all that I am and have and hope to be at Your feet in complete surrender to Your will. Please lead my every thought, my every step. I love you. I trust You. I need You. Have Your way, Lord. In Your name, I pray, Amen.

What are you holding onto that you need to surrender to Jesus today? Lay it at his feet as you submit to His lordship and trust Him to lead you today!

Chrissie Angell is the Executive Director and a Co-founder of Humble Faith Ministries. She is a speaker, writer, and Bible teacher passionate about pointing women to Jesus and helping them live out their Kingdom assignments. She and her husband, Brian, live in Kentucky with their two boys and their yellow lab, Charger.

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