Updated: Jun 15, 2020
Salvation is a free gift, but we must remember that there is a cost to follow the One who made the way.
"If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." Mark 8:34
We often hear about the many blessings of following Jesus and about the many things that He does for us. Truly there are many benefits to following Jesus. The most obvious is the redemption that He has purchased for us with His own blood - reconciliation and peace with God and salvation from the wrath to come. That alone is enough - and more than any of us deserve.
There are also many tangible things that He does for us on a daily basis. He provides for our needs. He causes us to walk in peace and in joy when we are following Him. He gives us meaning and purpose. He provides us fulfillment in serving that purpose (quite often, Christians that are not experiencing fulfillment in their walk are also not fulfilling their purpose).
What we don't hear about as often is the very real cost of discipleship. Jesus makes it clear that there is a cost to follow Him. For many Christians in the West, that cost often goes unpaid. While some may see this as a "blessing," the unfortunate reality is that there is something lacking as a result of a walk that doesn't involve giving up something.
Salvation is a free gift, accessed through faith in Jesus, but true discipleship has a cost. True discipleship would have us deny ourselves and to put His kingdom first. We must be willing to shed those parts of ourselves that don't glorify Him. We must be willing even to suffer for Him, going so far as considering it an honor to be able to suffer for Him. We must be willing to pay the cost.
For many of our students, that cost is very real. They come from Iran and from Saudi Arabia. They come from China and from India. For many of them, even coming to a Bible study puts them at risk. For some, following Jesus may alienate them from their families and from their support networks. But following the Good Shepherd is worth any cost that we must pay, and any suffering that we must endure.
Please pray for us and for our ministry. Please pray for our students, that the seeds that are planted in their hearts will grow and bear a crop. And pray that they will be courageous and willing to pay the cost.
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