“In view of God’s mercies, therefore, I urge you, present your bodies as living sacrifices to God, holy and acceptable, which is your reasonable act of worship.”
“In Him, let us, therefore, continually offer to God the sacrifice of praise, the fruit of lips that confess His Name.”
“The Kingdom of Heaven is like man who was ploughing in a field, and he came upon a buried treasure. In his joy, he buried the treasure, and went and sold all that he had, and bought the field. The Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant who was searching for fine pearls, and finding a pearl of great price, in his joy he went and sold all that he had and bought the pearl.”
“Whoever loses… for My sake… will not fail to receive a hundred times as much in this life, and in the age to come, eternal life.”
“What man, if he wishes to build a tower, will not first sit down, and calculate to see if he has enough to finish, lest he should lay the foundation, and be unable to finish, and all should mock him, saying, ‘He has started what he was not able to finish?’ Or what man, if he has an army coming against him, will not first sit down to see if he is able, with ten thousand men, to come against twenty thousand, and if he is not, will he not send for terms of peace? In the same way, you, if you do not give up all you possess, you cannot be My disciple.”
In Jesus, we ourselves are to be a sacrifice to God: a victim, consecrated to God and transformed in the Divine fire from Heaven. All we do, and all we experience, is also to be sacrifice: consecrated to God, and offered to Him in love and thanksgiving, in adoration and worship, in willingness and praise.
Because we are a sacrifice, offered in and by Jesus to God the Father, transformed in the fire of the Holy Spirit, we can not speak of any cost or price to be paid in following Christ. We do not want to do so, for there is no cost! We belong to God and He is our inheritance. Consecrated to God in the Truth, our self-will surrendered to God, our will united in His, all is sacrifice – consecrated, joyous offering and adoration to the Trinity – and nothing is cost. We are separated to God from all other ends or goals, and every thought and deed, every word and experience is to be a sacrifice – that is, to be offered to God, lifted up to Him as an act of adoring love, worship.
There is no cost in this. God never takes away, not really; He always gives. He takes ourselves to Himself and then gives, and gives, and gives – give us Himself, gives us all. If we perceive His giving as our losing, His gift as our loss, it is because we are deceived and blind. He does not take away from us; instead, He takes us away from everything else and to His heart, and, in Jesus, offers Himself, all that He is, all that He has done, to us. Anything else is a lie of hell.
The point of counting the cost is not to speak of the cost of living the Christian life, the cost of persecution, or suffering, or toil, or anything else. In fact, the command to count the cost is precisely so that we will not enter upon following Jesus, and then sit down and mope or whine about the price, the loss, the cost, we have endured to follow Him. Indeed, it is that we will not even consider the abominable lie that it is price or loss or cost at all!
I have had many counsel me that entering upon God’s best for me may involve a huge price. I have seen many make statements such as, “He often said, ‘I have not made a sacrifice’ and this after a life in which that element was not at all lacking,’” or that, when saints and martyrs say that there is no cost, it is because the cost is not comparable to the gain, is far outweighed by the gain. (It ought to be obvious that this is not what we mean; if it was, we would be quite capable of saying it. After all, we do mean that the suffering is not comparable to the glory and is far outweighed by the glory, but we do not say that we have not suffered, yet we do say that there is no cost, that we have paid no price: is it not natural to think this is because we mean it?!) I write this because I desperately wish for no one to make such statements about my statements. Regardless of how I die, whether I suffer destitution and abject poverty, whatever good thing anyone thinks I lost, or thinks that I could have had – preposterous, nonsensical thought – if I were not faithful to Jesus, whatever sorrow I have, whatever horrifying or torturous death I may die, I implore you, and I plead with God, that no one shall ever breathe a word about the cost or loss or price in my life! Sacrifice? Yes, if you use that word properly, for that is all I wish to be – a living sacrifice – and I pray to God that everything I do or experience may to Him a sacrifice of love! Cost? Loss? None at all!
If I missed something someone thinks is a bad thing in my list, or if I failed to make clear all the ways in which I do not want anyone to suggest that there was any price or loss in my life because of Jesus, it is because I am finite and I cannot think of all the various forms in which the lies of hell can hide in the shadows of earth. It is not that there is no loss compared to the gain, no price compared to the reward: it is that there is not, and never can be, any loss or price or cost at all! It is all sacrifice – which is exactly to say, sacred gift, of God to us and of ourselves to God. I cannot express how desperately I do not want anyone, least of all anyone who claims to be a Christian or to be called by the name of Jesus my Lord, to suggest that there even can be loss, that anything is not, to us, the sacred gift, the sacrifice, of God Himself (in which sacrifice we offer ourselves to Him)!
Yet, as it has happened to so many before me, could I not be persecuted, and tortured, and sing amidst the throes of death, and how many could come right upon my heels, to talk about how I was a hero, and how many “sacrifices” I made, or how much I lost? O God, have mercy! It would all be a lie from hell, a trick of Satan! I cannot lose anything!
Copyright 2019 Raina Nightingale