There is nothing easy about the life of a Christian. Yes, we live by the grace of God; however, the grace of God cannot work in a vacuum. What this means is that the grace of God is powerless to do anything in my life unless there is a predisposition in my to cooperate with it. This predisposition is still a gift from God but maintaining it over a lifetime is hard work. To grow in virtue and holiness requires the constant decision to surrender our lives to the work of His grace.

In the Gospel today, Jesus encourages His disciples to be realistic about what a life of following Him really means in regards to the practical day-to-day decisions that they will have to make. To follow Jesus means to take up our own cross, the cross of sufferings and trials as we seek to lay down our lives in the service of the Gospel. It means being prepared to lay down the right foundations in our lives in order to serve the Kingdom of God in the best possible way. (It is interesting to note that it seems to be at least 10 years between the conversion of Paul and the beginning of his ministry as related in the Acts of the Apostles. This may not be obvious at first reading but when we combine the evidence in Acts with that of the proposed dates of his various letters, this would seem to be the time frame with which we are working.) And finally, Jesus affirms that the true disciple must be willing to leave behind everything to follow Him if that is what He asks us to do.

The cost of discipleship is great because the cost of our redemption was also great. Jesus died for us to have the opportunity to be reconciled with the Father. He makes this possible. It would be totally unreasonable to think that there would not be an individual price to pay to unite ourselves with Him in His mission. The cost is great, but the benefits are even greater! What could be more satisfying than to know that one is doing the work of Jesus. What could bring greater happiness to a man or woman. This is the secret of the joy of the saints – their utter happiness and pleasure is to be obedient to God’s will for their lives.

How seriously do I take the call to count the cost of my discipleship with Jesus? Am I willing to pay the price that He asks of me?

Lord Jesus, you ask for everything that I have – nothing less. It is not easy for me to surrender everything to you. Help me by your grace to overcome whatever hesitation I may have.