There are countless economies that run through all of reality. And just like the economy that most of us are familiar with in our daily lives, these other economies have costs as part of the machinery that makes them work. The truth is that everything in life comes at a cost. It isn’t always in the cost of paper dollars, or gold coins, but everything costs something.
If you want to have friends, it will cost you in the time it takes to find them. If you want a good marriage, the cost will come in forsaking all other intimate possibilities, and the pain and effort necessary to merge yourself with your partner. If you want to have good children, it will cost you in the sacrifice of your time, your energies, your desires, and your own personal plans as you shape your children into responsible people. If you want to succeed in the business world, it will cost you in a near relentless pursuit of goals. All of these will probably cost you in failures — failures that will hurt, but that you must learn and grow from.
Following Jesus is no different. It will cost you. Your salvation cost him, but your following of Jesus will cost you. It is a very high cost. Jesus is perfectly clear about it (Luke 14:25-33). In explaining that cost to multitudes of people who were considering a life of discipleship, Jesus told them that anyone who does not renounce everything he has cannot be his disciple (Luke 14:33). It is, in fact, a total commitment that Jesus expects. When he says everything, he means everything. He’s talking about relationships, money, plans, and even the freedom that you falsely believe you enjoy.
This cost is best summed up with the word commitment. Until you commit to a path, you cannot finish. Imagine trying to complete college without actually being committed to the goal of obtaining your degree. Imagine being married without a commitment to loving your wife or crystalizing the marriage. How effective of an employee will you be if you are not committed to your job? The world is full of people who began a task but never committed. The results are far too often disastrous! Have you ever seen a person make a child who has never committed to raising that child? Such a person enjoyed a moment of what they wrongly believed was bliss, but that person is not a parent.
If you believe you are following Christ, but you aren’t really committed, then you aren’t following Christ. In fact, you may be modeling a lie that harms others in their spiritual walk. This is a hard truth. But it has a pleasant side. When you pay that high of a price, you get a high reward (Luke 14:14, 2 Corinthians 5:10, Colossians 3:23-24, 1 Peter 5:4, Hebrews 11:6, Revelation 22:12).