Nothing to everything was a sizable leap. Especially for a college freshman. Having come to Christ at sixteen, I wanted to jump into every aspect of the Christian life.
Living on a college campus at eighteen would be a whole new world. Since I desired to grow in my faith, I participated in several Christian student groups; Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) and Campus Crusade for Christ (CRU).
Discipleship was a foreign concept to me at the time. During the two years I had been a Christ-follower, my only spiritual teaching had come from a small church youth group.
I knew the basics about God and eternal life. I understood the great cost to God by sending His Son to take my place on the cross. Jesus gave His life as payment for mine. I was grateful His grace was free to me. Grace is free to everyone.
Reba was a female staff member for CRU who discipled me in college. For over a year, she poured her life into my life. She explained the cost of a true disciple of Christ—everything.
There is no cost for coming. There is a cost for following. Then, I didn’t entirely grasp the concept of being a true disciple of Christ, and I don’t now. I believe as we follow, we more fully comprehend discipleship in segments of our lives.
It’s a learning process. An act of doing. A choice to follow and not turn back. Followers, by the very nature of the role, must keep moving forward. Following after Him with our whole heart and life.
It’s an irony. Counting the cost is a freeing place. A completing place.
Jesus calls, “follow me.” While it’s not always easy, it only happens with complete abandonment. With everything. Giving it all for the sake of the call.
The apostle Paul described it this way:
“Whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ.” (Philippians 3:7-8 NASB.)
Unlike a financial investment gone wrong, we count our losses as gain in our spiritual lives. What we lose, we gain back in things of far more worth. The return on investment (ROI) is immeasurable because it’s of eternal value.
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.” (Matthew 16:24-25 ESV.)
Time has passed since my college days and my passion has grown for mentoring and discipling followers of Christ. I’ve been called to pour my life into students and women as Reba poured her life into me.
I’m still learning what it means to count the cost daily. I’m asking the Lord to show me what taking up my cross looks like in real life. I want to know. I want Him to show me as I show others. That’s the heart of discipleship—investing in the kingdom of heaven where the ROI is the greatest gain of all.
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