Saturday, October 3, 2009

How Much Does it Cost?

I'm a bottom-line sort of gal. When a salesman comes to the door and offers me his product, all I can think about is "how much does it cost?". A decent and honest salesman will tell you up front what the cost is, and that way when the deal closes, there won't be any surprises.

I think that this is an area in which the modern day church is missing the mark. The presentation of the gospel often includes the benefits of becoming a Christian, but like a crooked salesman's contract, the cost is hidden in tiny print somewhere on the last page.

Why have we become embarrassed at what the Lordship of Christ requires of us? Wasn't it Jesus in Luke 18 who told the rich young ruler that he must sell all that he had and distribute it to the poor in order to inherit eternal life? Jesus is not setting up a rule that everyone must obey in order to be saved, but He is putting his finger on the one area that the rich young ruler was not willing to submit. This was the cost for him. It was the deal breaker.

Jesus wants all of us. Ours is a relationship that can't be compartmentalized. Real Christianity is not about putting in our time on Sunday morning so we can live our life like we want the rest of the week. Real Christianity is not a formula, but a relationship. When a person meets Jesus and realizes what they've been saved from and what they've been saved into, they will never be the same. A full-on gospel is all about an amazing love relationship with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords whose love and grace so transforms us, that the things that use to hold our hearts no longer have appeal. "Full on" in the urban dictionary means "holding nothing back, intense, relentless". Jesus has held nothing back from us, so He deserves no less from us.

Jesus doesn't require that we be perfect to come to Him, but He does ask that we give all that we are to Him and that we allow Him access into every area of our lives. God is relentless in His pursuit of us, and relentless in His goal to conform us into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ.

Christians in other parts of the world know what Lordship means. Ask my daughter who serves in a Muslim nation where believers pay a high price to take on the name "Christian". It's an all or nothing mindset for them and ours should be no different. Our watered down version of the gospel has produced a watered down version of what it really means to be a Christian, and a watered down and powerless church that is more concerned with what He is going to do to make us happy, than what part we are going to play in advancing His Kingdom.

Jesus, unlike the deceptive salesman at your front door, tells you to consider the cost. He is looking for those who will slide their chips across the table and say, "I'm all in". When you cash in your chips with Him, you are giving up the right to dictate the direction your life will take. The greatest thing in all the world is that with this full surrender comes a joy unspeakable. It is one of the many mysteries of the Kingdom that "in order to find your life, you must first lose it."

Maybe that's why so many in today's church are wandering aimlessly trying to find their life. The truth is, they never lost it.

So, am I discouraged about the future? No, because I believe the church is on the threshold of Her finest hour. There are believers everywhere that God is raising up to be radical sold out revivalists whose one passion is to see His Kingdom come here on this earth as it is in heaven.

The days of "riding the fence" are soon to be over as the chasm between darkness and light widens. As the Body of Christ comes into her true identity and position, those who have never lost their lives will not be able to fake devotion as the cost will be too high.

This is the time to rise. This is the time to buy oil for your lamp. This is the time to lose your life in order to find it.

So as the Savior knocks at the door and shares with you His offer to enter the Kingdom, consider the cost. It is so worth it.