In every choice we make there is a cost to us and a benefit. If we stay where we are, we stay where we are comfortable, but we lose the freshness of something new in our lives. If we choose to move or change, we lose the comfort of the known. In every decision there is a price we pay. If we choose to diet, we narrow our choices of food and the quantity we eat. If we continue on with overeating, we lose confidence in how our body looks and feels and our health may decline. If we run every morning, then we may lose some sleep. If we don’t exercise, we’ll have less energy. In every choice there is a cost and a benefit.
It’s true, too, of following Jesus’s teachings. There are huge benefits in living the life Jesus calls us to:
-a huge increase in the ability to love
-living at peace with ourselves and others
-being more connected to others
-finding our own true selves as we were created to be -experiencing, really knowing God’s love for us
-stilling our restless minds
-finding our purpose in life
-partnering with the Lord in living our lives
-letting him do the heavy lifting
-being aware of the outpouring of blessings and grace
-serving and loving something/someone greater than us
-much less anxiety and fear
-being healed of trauma, fear, our own child’s self-image.
These benefits don’t come all at once, but generally they accrue over time, as we live into the Life of the Spirit, the life lived in, with and for God. Are there more benefits that you’ve experienced? Please write about them in the comments section.
But there are the costs of following the Lord, too, that we need to count, too. And like the benefits, they come to us over time, not all at once. Here are some of the costs:
-letting God make the decisions for us
-giving up our assumptions, expectations, wants
in favor of surrendering to his will
-not everyone in our families or friends or church will agree with the direction our life takes
-loss of the comfort being in the culture provides us
-living with not-knowing
-loss of the sense of control of our lives
-having to embrace all the troublesome/disparate very human parts of ourselves, to own all that we are
-having to let go of fear and anger and anxiety—old friends and companions through our lives
-allowing the Holy Spirit into the darkest places of our lives to heal us.
-having to learn how to love all kinds of people
Have you experienced other costs of following the Lord? Please write about them in the comments.
All told, to me, the benefits far outweigh the costs of surrendering one’s life to Christ. Until we do, we are living a life designed by the culture, our schools and our families for us to follow. After we surrender, we are, with the Lord’s help, gradually stripping off these cultural overlays and getting down to the real, true self, the person that God created us to be.
There is that one moment in time when we surrender our lives to God. We can forever remember that moment, the circumstances, how that felt. After that moment there follows a life filled with surrender—thousands of them—as we confront our limited view of others and ourselves, as we face what the reality of life is, not just how we like to see it. All these surrenders lead us to the one true authority, God, and to our being led by this authority. They also lead us to living a life with love.
And so living a life surrendered to the will of God we begin to live a life filled with integrity, with service, with purpose, with love. We come to depend on the One who created us, who knows best what we need at any moment in time, the One who knows where he wants to take us, who wants to strip us of anything that wasn’t in our created selves, who wants us to live the life for which we were designed.
And when we have gone really deeply into the relationship with the Lord, we will receive the fruit of the Spirit, Paul’s definition of the love of God, which we can then give back out to everyone we meet. [Galatians 5:22-23] Next week I will be writing about the fruit of the Spirit.
Questions to ponder over the week: Have I surrendered my life to God? Is my life asking me to surrender more and more so that I can draw nearer to God?
Check out this video and others on YouTube: “Does the Gospel Serve our Purposes or Do We Serve the Gospel? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wryesgONNXQ
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