For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? (Luke 14:28)
“Hey, hey, hey! Hold on! I thought you said it was free??” Someone exclaims.
Well, dear… Nothing worth having is ever truly free. Even if there is no monetary charge, there are personal costs. Jesus made a sacrifice, and He expects something in return.
“What is that?”
“Huh, I don’t get it. Explain please…”
It is really quite simple. Jesus gave His life for you. Suffered shame and ridicule for you. Left the glory of His Kingdom to become a common man, homeless wanderer, and to be killed like a criminal, because of you.
“What did I do? I didn’t ask Him to do that.”
Well, Jesus saw your future, and it wasn’t good. Sin (the bad things that humans do by nature) has separated the world from God’s Kingdom, which is holy (very, very good). It created an impassable great divide between us and God, so that whatever road we take in this world, the end is a fatal fall into the endless pit which separates the two worlds. What is more, the world is fading away, and the distance to the pit is getting shorter all the time.
You cannot see it, but the road you are on is leading you to a dangerous cliff’s edge. If you continue down this road, you’ll soon fall off the cliff and suffer an awful death. Foreseeing our eternal separation from Him, God sent Jesus to make an alternative path – a bridge between this world and His, the Kingdom of Heaven.
Those who follow the path of righteousness (as it is often called) will be saved from a terrible destiny. But in order to create this path, Jesus had to die. You see, there’s a special component that makes the bridge, and only Jesus had this component. It is the blood of a sinless (holy) man. That was the only way to make a bridge that will reach a holy world. Jesus agreed to be that Man; for you and me! If He didn’t do it, we would all have no hope after death, which is as sure as falling off the cliff!
“Ummm…deep. Well, I am thankful. What am I supposed to do now? How do I get on this path?”
That’s a very good question. Jesus calls it ‘repentance’, but it simply means to turn around, and go the right way. Making a decision to turn around, when you can see the danger ahead is easy enough, but you need more in you to help you to stay on the right path. You see, it is actually very narrow. It is so narrow that you can’t carry all that load with you. You have to drop the load! If you try to cross the bridge with all that baggage, you’re going to be unsteady and fall!
“Oh, that sounds tricky! But I think I can do it. Everything I have is in this bag”.
Drop it. It won’t pass.
“What?! It’s all I have. It isn’t much at all. Besides, how do you suppose I’ll eat? What will I wear when this gets dirty?”
Jesus said you don’t need to worry about that. You just need to trust God to provide. God wants you to cross over to the other side, and anyone who has the faith enough to trust Him, by first laying down everything, He has promised that He will meet all their needs along the way.
“But I don’t even know Him! All these rules! What if I change my mind?”
Now you’re counting the cost! It is good to be honest. But it is better to be wise! You already know the path you’re on is doomed. Even if you try other spiritual paths, they’ll all lead to a dead-end too. Jesus is the only way! Now, Jesus has been upfront from the beginning. He says that you must count the cost. He says that if you start and turn back again, He will not be happy with you. But if you will endure to the end, by first obeying Him, abiding in His love, trusting and depending on His Spirit (which He will send to show you the way), you will be welcomed into His Kingdom and given a crown of righteousness!
“Crown of righteousness? You never said that before. What do I have to lose? There’s really no other choice.”
Rightly spoken. But don’t do it for the crown alone. If you are attracted by jewels, there are demons that will try to divert you from the path with fake jewels, and you will be easy prey for them! They’ll try to convince you that you can be happy and wealthy in this world. They are constantly scanning the bridge for weary people, who are double-minded or greedy, and straying from God’s love. When they shine their jewels in their faces, these ones fall away from the path.
You must be very careful. They will sometimes appear like angels of light, and their agents may even be walking ahead of you in the path, so that you will easily trust them. But Jesus says you shall know them by their fruit (the way they love others). Jesus said people will know who we are by the love we show one another. Their love is selfish, and not like God’s at all, because God’s Spirit is not in them. The real gift is eternal life. Don’t turn it down for any small token!! Remember, it is only Jesus that can give it to you, and you’ll get it when you make it to God’s Kingdom.
“Oh wow! This is such an adventure. I am scared and excited all at once. But I’ve decided that I’m going to do it. And if you are right, God will help me.”
He will help you. Don’t forget that everyday, you must make the decision to keep going forward, and don’t look back. Remember the demons. Keep praying to God to guide you, and help others along the way. I’ll be praying for you too.