My daughter is fearless.
She is 2 and a 1/2 this year and has been loving being in pools this summer. She has loved it so much that she has taken a love to jumping into the pool (sometimes off the diving board…yes all with a puddle jumper). She will jump when we are there right next to her, and she will jump when we are not, almost like she doesn’t know the danger of the water.
And this can leave me thinking Can’t you have a little fear? Just a little? Just enough to know that there are dangers in the world, like that this water can hurt you…kill you?
I often wonder at what point do I stop her from doing things that she does in bravery that can cause her harm. She doesn’t count the cost. She probably doesn’t know yet that she should, but she still doesn’t.
I am the opposite of Olivia. Probably to the point that I count the cost too much. For Ennegram lovers, I am a 6. The Loyalist. At the core of this ennegram type is a kind of fear and anxiety. Basically you are scared of fear itself. I heard the Loyalist recently described this way, 1’s “have a inner critic, but 6’s have an internal committee”. So for me, counting the cost can be like having an inner battle with an army against 1. Because of this making any kind of decision is not easy, and then I often question the decisions I have made.
Instead of being like Olivia, and just taking giant leaps of faith, I sit and consider all the things that can go wrong. I look at all the wind and the waves (like every single one of them, even the tiny little ripples), instead of the One who meets us in the storm and walks on water. I question the decisions I make in faith when life meets those decisions with challenges. And I try to plan when God says to wait, as soon as things seem uncertain.
My “inner committee” has been loud and clear the past month or so, in like every area of life. Honestly there are times when it would probably be easier to just give in to the battle, and just give in to the fears, and tell God you know what, this whole faith thing is just too hard, and then just take the easy road.
There is a cost to being a follower of Jesus…
Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a 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.’” Luke 14: 27-30
Jesus is being real with the large crowd here while they were traveling with Him. He is telling them to consider what they are doing, and to make a decision factoring everything in. He knows that if they don’t, their commitment won’t last, they won’t follow through. He knows many will begin to say “this is too hard”, because they want to hold on to the things of this world. But He wants those who will say “I know it is hard, I don’t understand it all, but where else would I go?”
What is your cross?
My cross is so often fear, doubt, insecurity, and disbelief. And the greatest thing of this world that I want to hold onto is certainty. Jesus is constantly commending people for their faith, but on the flipside calling out the people who want to follow Him but still want to keep one hand on the things of this world. If you read further along in Luke 14, Jesus doesn’t make any promises of anything. He tells us to consider it all when deciding to follow Him.
Consider the good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful, the uncertain, the fears, and the pain. Know the risks involved. But above all consider the One who walked on water. Know the One who calmed the storm with just two simple words. Be still.
The one who is victorious will be dressed in white. Revelation 3:5
Following Jesus doesn’t hold earthly certainty, but eternal security. So I need to everyday carry my cross. I need to carry the things that would be easier to run away from. And face my fears knowing the One who calls me to walk on water.
Yes, it often feels like I have a inner committee. It can feel like it is a jury finding all of my faults, and pinpointing all of my fears. But in that I have to consider something else. My Defender. The One who knows that I should be found guilty, yet calls me His anyway. When I consider this, when remembering who He is, my answer will always be “where else would I go?”
The name of Jesus can silence the committee.
So what are 3 things to remember when counting the cost of following Jesus?
- Don’t run when uncertainties and fears come, when you have made decisions based on faith and in prayer.
- You are not alone when His blood covers you.
- He fights for you. The one who is victorious/who overcomes (who walks with Him) will be dressed in white. He will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before God and His angels. Revelation 3:5
Did you read that last one? When you walk with Him, Jesus acknowledges you before God and His angels. My friends that is a big deal. The One who defeated death will confess your name before the creator of the universe. The word for confess in greek is “homologeo”, which can be further translated as to concede (not refuse), to profress (to declare openly, speak out freely), and to praise/celebrate. Does this bring tears to your eyes, because it does to mine. Imagine Jesus, coming before His Father, declaring to God that you are His. Take this moment, close your eyes, and picture it.
So, I pray that when you are considering the cost of following Him, your deciding factor is that He overcame the grave, and He calls you His. And if those two things are true… then our wholehearted response should be to throw ourselves at His feet and say “I will follow You.”