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Monday, March 17, 2014

Spiritually Counting the Cost

“Whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 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 want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. 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. Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:7-8a, 10-12, 13b-14, NIV). 
This is a powerful statement from Paul! He longed to be sold out to Jesus. He didn't care what that sacrifice cost, because His Savior had paid the greatest price. He never once forgot that living his faith was all about Christ. Paul knew the cost of absolute surrender.

We begin our Christian life called out of love for our Savior. Our hearts initially burn with joyful amazement at the magnitude of what God has started only to find along the way that our inability to surrender control to the Lord chokes out His spiritual life. There are some things we should never forget. Never forget that we have no purpose without Him. Never forget the costly price He paid for our love. Never forget so pride will not be an issue. Pride exists without our surrender. We are called to have a servant’s heart, and we are certainly no higher or better than those we serve. If a person feels the need to speak of his humility, then pride is really an issue. True humility is a powerful tool. It reveals that spiritual power in a believer’s life has been placed under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Paul found it in absolute surrender. We can find it too.

Paul knew that the cost of living the Christian life should only be counted spiritually. There is a great danger in humanly counting the cost of commitment. Analyzing too much about what you believe is personally required can cause you to retreat from the depth of inward commitment necessary. Too little commitment and your desire to live for Jesus fades away. However, there is power in spiritually counting the cost. When the price of commitment is spiritually counted and the cost is absolute surrender to Jesus Christ, then biblical paradoxes take on new spiritual depth. Servitude brings greatness. Weakness brings strength. To live is to die, and to die is to live. Paul experienced these in his life. They are also what we receive when we are sold out to Christ.

Your life in Christ requires surrender. God doesn’t want you “burned out and used up” because of His call upon your life. He wishes you fresh, alive, and able to pour His life through you. Give whatever is necessary spiritually. You will receive the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit, and what is so important, you will inspire commitment in others. Live what Paul wrote. “I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” There is no greater life. There is no greater passion. There is no greater reward.

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