Sermon Lessons: Cost

13-14"Don't look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time. Don't fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do. The way to life—to God!—is vigorous and requires total attention."
(Matthew 7:13-14)

The cost associated with acquiring something is sometimes not important to some people - they seemingly don't really think the associated cost is a big deal.  Then there are others of us who are a little more frugal (not stingy) in our spending, so we pay attention to the cost associated with both acquiring and maintaining whatever it is that we are getting.  We look at the length of the warranty and read up on the reviews registered by others who have acquired the product.  We'd say that we were wise "consumers".

The fact that God looks for us to be wise in our approach to him is clear evidence that he appreciates a wise "consumer" who counts the cost associated with obtaining eternal life.  He is encouraging us to not only look at the cost of "obtaining" eternal life, but also the "cost" associated with our daily walk (we might call this the "maintenance" of our walk).  We don't "do stuff" to "maintain" our position of salvation and eternal life, but there is a daily cost associated with maintaining closeness in our walk with Christ.

We are always looking for shortcuts.  Traffic is too heavy on one road, so we cut over to the other road going the same direction in hopes of avoiding the busy streets.  The results we hoped for in our change of diet aren't shedding the pounds fast enough, so we opt to add some new "miracle" diet drug to speed the process.  It is part of who we are to want to take a few shortcuts in life.  There is one place where shortcuts don't work - our daily walk with Christ.  If we are so focused on the shortcuts, we miss out on the rewards of the journey!

Christ tells his disciples that this walk is a vigorous one - it demands our total attention.  That speaks to the fact that we cannot have mixed motives.  We are either "in this" with Christ, or not.  We cannot have one foot in the walk and the other not.  In case you have not noticed...your one foot determines the course the other foot will go (even if it is being drug along!).  

The "cost" associated with our daily walk is vigor - having a strong, robust, and vital walk.  Have you ever noticed that when you deny your physical body rest and proper nutrition, it begins to drag, mental acuity goes to pot, and you just cannot function at peak capacity?  The same is true in the spiritual sense.  When we neglect the "rest" we need - those times alone with God just soaking in who he is - we lag behind.  When we don't take the time for the proper spiritual nutrition - good teaching in the Word, time in the Word ourselves - we are not "fueled" for the walk.

The cost of salvation that is associated with our "part" (what we do) is really in the commitment we make to the everyday stuff.  Jesus paid the initial cost (his life on the cross for the salvation of all who would come to him).  We make the commitment to the maintenance of the walk.  That is our part.  So, consider the cost (the price you are willing to pay) for the maintenance of a close walk with Jesus.  If you find you have been trying to take "shortcuts" in maintaining that walk, you will find yourself falling short of what you are truly capable of enjoying!


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