Someone, from my past, would ask me quite often if “I had count the cost” to follow Jesus when I would choose to do what God asked me to do. This statement would bring a sense of fear. Fear that I had not thought of everything that could possibly go wrong by choosing to live fully for Christ. I don’t think it was the purpose to bring fear with the question; but for me it did. I knew there was no way I could ever possibly anticipate or fathom all the “bad” things that could happen to me if I choose to do what God asked of me. Yet still, I choose to trust God with my whole life.
Over the past year, the cost of choosing to follow the Lord and do what He has asked me to do by most accounts could be considered great and yet not once during this time, until the last few weeks, had I even thought of the question. Did I count the cost before stepping forward almost a year ago? Not for myself, not for my husband (because he was in agreement with me), yet I did for my sons (although they were even in agreement with me). Yet, they are my children and truly in my heart I would love to be able to always protect them from everything that could possibly hurt them. I know that is impossible. Yet again here I had a choice, we all had a choice to walk this out as a family. I knew what it would cost them and at the age of fifteen and fourteen they learned the cost, but they didn’t even flinch in stepping forward with Jesus. See they could see the benefits of their choice far outweighed any choices others would make towards them. And yet what God offered them, freedom in Him, is worth more than gold.
Anyone looking at our lives now may think, ‘oh they lost so much’. Yet with the proper perspective, not one built on fear, we have actually gained more. It would look like we lost friendships, community, jobs and yet we gained friendships forged through fire and new relationships, a community of people who are based on the pure love of Christ, and time. Time for the things that God has desired for me to have time for. My sons say it well….they gained freedom in Him to live life to the fullest in a perfect relationship with their Father in Heaven, not because of anything that they did, but because they are better understanding now ALL that Jesus did for them.
I believe the question should be, “have you counted the gain in your choice to follow the Lord?” instead of “have you counted the cost?”. One question brings great hope when the other brings great fear. Jesus did not look at what He would lose, He looked at the “Joy set before Him.” (Hebrews 12:2). For so long in my life I have chosen to look at all Jesus the Christ suffered. I am NOT minimizing at all what He suffered. Yet, I honestly believe He desires for us not to look at what, for a moment, looks like what He lost: His life. He willingly laid down His life for each of us, for the entire world (1 John 3:16). He didn’t count the cost….He only counted the gain. The Greek word for endured in Hebrews 12:2 is hypomeno, this literally means remaining under (the load). Also the Greek word kata phroneo is used for despised. This word means literally: to judge against. This helps give us a better idea of what was being explained to the Hebrews through Paul. Jesus was able to remain under the load and put shame in its rightful place because of the joy set before Him. The joy set before Him is each of us. The entire world of humanity that was created in His image. This is gain in His eyes.
In the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus, according to Luke, sweat blood while asking Father three times to take this cup from Him but not my will Yours be done, His love for His Father and for us is astounding here. Jesus was fully God here and knew the cost that only He could pay. I believe He began feeling the cost there in Gethsemane. Jesus was also fully man and He knew the pain that He had been born to endure and the load He would need to remain under to complete what He was born to do for all humanity. I believe Luke wanted to make sure and tell us, through the Holy Spirit, that the process had already begun at the end of the Passover meal. The separation of Father and Son began. Just like when the Passover lamb is taken from his mother. Jesus experienced all of our emotions and physical body experiences. With this separation began the process of the payment of ALL of the sin, condemnation, curse, sickness for the entire world for all time. Jesus knew this would be set upon Him, Holy God, and I believe this start of the payment caused the sweating of blood (Matthew 26:38, Luke 22:33-34) . Jesus, Who is holy, and could not even look upon sin would become the Passover lamb that would take all of the sin of all humanity for all time upon Himself.
We need to understand, Jesus was not counting the cost at Gethsemane He instead kept His eyes upon the Father and when His Father had to turn away while Jesus was on the Cross (Matthew 27:46) I believe Jesus kept His eyes on His prize, His beautiful bride. That is counting the GAIN.
The process, of what Jesus would do, had begun long ago when He was born. Actually the decision had been made back at the beginning of the world when Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Isaiah 53). In this great love affair with His Beloved humanity, God has not counted the cost but only counted the gain—to be loved by His beloved.
So, I no longer focus on whether or not I am willing to pay the cost. I, like Jesus, focus on the gain. There is always gain with God because Jesus paid our cost and He then gave us abundance in every area of our lives because He made the way for us to become sons and daughters of God. Full of life, health, favor, freedom and love. That is only gain.