Monday, January 4th

Monday, January 4th

And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple. But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. They would say, "There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!" Luke 14:27-30

Today's thoughts from today's verses:

We begin a series this week designed to help us tackle those areas of life that are ongoing, constant, and could stand some improvement in the new year that lies before us. The series begins with a look at "discipleship," which really is the key to getting life right in all those areas that are ongoing and constant (dealing with time, finances, relationships, etc.). We would prefer that life didn't have areas that always need the hard work of improvement. We want quick fixes and easy mastery, but much of life is not that way. This is certainly true in the area of "discipleship." Most of us would like a successful Christian life to be handed to us.

Perhaps part of the struggle comes because salvation is a gift. It is through faith by grace that God freely bestows on us forgiveness of sins and eternal life. We want the same kind of thing to happen in regard to discipleship and living fully for God. While the cost of salvation was all on Christ, we are included in the cost of discipleship. Today's Scripture speaks very clearly about the cost of discipleship (we will be looking at the parable of the "Sower" in Luke 8 for most of the rest of the week). Discipleship is all about carrying your own cross and following Christ. Jesus says, "you cannot be my disciple" unless you do this. What does it mean to carry your own cross and follow Christ?

Let's back up for a moment and ask this question, "why does God provide the gift of forgiveness of sins and eternal life?" He does it in order to bring us back to himself. He reclaims that which is rightly his so that we can live for his glory and honor. 1 Corinthians 6:20 says it this way, "For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body (your lifetime here on earth in the flesh). So, Discipleship is all about living fully for God instead of living fully for ourselves. This is where the cost to us comes in to play and it is ongoing and constant. Carrying our cross and following Christ is all about dying to ourselves, surrendering our wills, and living for God's purposes and desires instead of our own.

Today's Scripture says that one should count the cost of being a disciple of Christ right from the beginning. There is an awful lot that could be said at this point but for now let's limit it to this. Wherever you are in your response to Christ, even if you didn't count the cost at the beginning, you can start fresh today. Count the cost and commit to carrying your cross and following Christ fully.

Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

Lord, I have counted the cost and here I am. I bow before you in an act of total surrender. I want to live fully for you and I am willing to go forward living for your purposes and your glory. I choose to carry my own cross and follow Christ fully. Amen!

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