Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

What Does It Cost Us to Follow Jesus?

Philippians 3:14

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

112015 Ray McDonaldThe Ravens won Sunday. Well – they won the game – even as they lost their franchise quarterback and their starting running back to injury. It has been a rough season to say the least. A team that has had much success in the past and that some picked to do great things this year as well – is mired in a losing season that has left a sour taste in the mouth of many. Some of us – even long time fans – have given up on the season and are waiting for spring training to begin.

The team set out to win the Super Bowl as their target for the year. They practiced and sacrificed to accomplish their goal – their target – their prize. For a variety of reasons – that won’t be happening this year – yet that was still their goal and they sacrificed greatly to achieve that goal – that prize.

Paul talks about being willing to sacrifice everything for his walk with Jesus – as he looked toward – strived toward – the prize. He was willing to give up everything in order to follow Christ. Here is today’s passage in partial context. Philippians 3:7–14 – 7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. 12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

I’ve often asked the question – what does it cost us to follow Jesus? What sacrifices do we make? How are we different – because of our desire to follow Jesus? What changes in our life are caused by our desire to follow Jesus? I believe that being a Christian will cost us something. Jesus said this: Matthew 10:37–39 – 37 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.

Being a Christian demands a different walk. Being a Christ follower requires a sacrifice. Being a believer in the Risen Lord will produce a changed life – a life centered not on self but on the will of God. 2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! Remember what I always add to this passage – but the old hasn’t gone very far. We will always battle the carnal self – the sinful nature – the natural self. It is Jesus who gives us temporal and eternal victory – not our efforts. But we are called to leave our life of sin and strive to follow Jesus! Just saying!

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

November 24, 2015 - Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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