In the midst of the process of our most recent adoptions, I came to a greater understanding of obedience, and answering the call God places on our day-to-day lives. Our girls were being presented to us by God (another story), and we were confronted with a particular detail of the adoption process that could be difficult. We were asking each other whether or not we could handle it, and praying about it, and I asked, shouldn’t we count the cost? The answer I got was a resounding NO, which was not what I expected, and was not in alignment with my understanding. And then it occurred to me, we were already to have done that.
When we are first called to follow Him, we are supposed to count the cost, and then not look back. Jesus said in Luke 14
“If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it— lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ (NKJV)Now I would confess that most of us (and certainly me!) don’t have the long-sightedness or maturity when we first accept Him to do this, and that it becomes part of the process of becoming His to actually count the cost. But, there comes a day when we must decide whether or not we are wholly His, and at that point the crossroad is whether or not we are going to live a life of complete obedience or not.
In worldly terms this may appear radical, or in my terms radically obedient, but I think God just sees it as obedience. We are to hear His directions for us, and then simply obey. Without weighing options, making lists of pros and cons, without discussing it with everyone we know, without worry, without getting our ducks in a row, etc. – without counting the cost! Being radical should never be a goal we strive for. Being radical brings attention to us, but being radically obedient is different, and focuses the attention on Him.
And you know what, we may be completely misunderstood, not supported, and thought to be crazy by our family, friends, neighbors, church and even our church leaders! The point is that once we have clearly heard God speak - we have to obey! We must have faith that God has the resources taken care of to accomplish what He has called us to do, and part of that is His taking care of the understanding of others. For us in this particular case it was a matter of saying yes, we were willing to lose relationship with people we love dearly to be obedient. But God changed hearts, because He is in charge of that, and the timing of that.
I liken this process to what I consider to be the closest picture of our relationship with Jesus that we see in our lives, marriage. Think of the vows we take when we are just about to be joined as one flesh with our spouse to be. We are asked if we will love, honor, cherish, etc. all the days of our lives. Even when sickness and trying times come, we tell God and family that we promise to do these things until death do us part! The vows aren’t love, honor and cherish until things get tough, and then count the cost and see what you want to do. We have to count the cost up front, say “I do”, and then DO!
To be wholly His, and live life in the fullness He has for us, there can be no more counting the cost.