NO PRICE TOO HIGH

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Religion and Spirituality  |  House: Booksie Classic
Freedom. People have fought for it and millions have died for it. The desire for freedom is the top craving of every human heart and nations have gone to war for the sole purpose of giving its citizens the right to be called free. People cry out "give me liberty or give me death" for the taste of freedom is sweet and worth dying for. Those who have tasted the redemptive blessings of being free would rather their life end than to never again bask in the glories of true, unadulterated freedom. It was for freedom that the Heavenly Father sent his only begotten Son to the earth to save all people from the shackles of a bondage so oppressive that no man, woman, or child could be loosed from it on their own. Setting people free from the bondage of sin and death was the purpose for which Jesus lived and died. He said in John 8:36, "Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed." This freedom is not free nor is it cheap. It cost Jesus His life to give it and will cost you your life to obtain it.

Submitted: May 13, 2017

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Submitted: May 13, 2017

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"NO PRICE TOO HIGH"
BY
WILLIAM T. A. OLUBIYI

 

Freedom. People have fought for it and millions have died for it. The desire for freedom is the top craving of every human heart and nations have gone to war for the sole purpose of giving its citizens the right to be called free. People cry out "give me liberty or give me death" for the taste of freedom is sweet and worth dying for. Those who have tasted the redemptive blessings of being free would rather their life end than to never again bask in the glories of true, unadulterated freedom. It was for freedom that the Heavenly Father sent his only begotten Son to the earth to save all people from the shackles of a bondage so oppressive that no man, woman, or child could be loosed from it on their own. Setting people free from the bondage of sin and death was the purpose for which Jesus lived and died. He said in John 8:36, "Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed." This freedom is not free nor is it cheap. It cost Jesus His life to give it and will cost you your life to obtain it. 
 
Matt.16:24-26 says, "Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?" The Message Bible says, "Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You're not in the driver's seat; I am. Don't run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I'll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?" There is no price too high to pay for this freedom although most people have chosen to drink the bitter waters of death, hell, and the grave. 
 
Paul spoke of a man named Demas who "has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica." (2 Tim. 4:10). Even Jesus said, "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it" (Matt. 7:13,14). The Message Bible says, "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." Difficult is the way that leads to a good life in Christ Jesus but most people choose to travel the road of least resistance. They spend most of their time looking for shortcuts around the path of hardship instead of pressing on and learning to fight like the soldiers they're called to be. They don't realize that if something is not worth fighting for, then it's not worth living for. 
 
Paul said in 2 Tim. 2:6, "The hard-working farmer must be first to partake of the crop." It's the diligent farmer who gets the produce but too many believers are living lazy, sloppy, and fleshly lives. To avoid fighting for what rightfully belongs to them they instead quote scripture out of context thinking they've found the shortcut to an easy life. This leads to a life of deception for people will think they're more spiritual than they actually are. They'll have no defense against the wiles of the devil and this deception opens the door for the enemy to come in and wreak havoc in their lives. Jesus did not promise you an easy life. He did say if you would put on your armor and fight you could have a victorious life, a good life of freedom that nobody can take from you. Our society has produced a generation of people who want things handed to them without any work or effort on their part and this "want something for nothing" attitude has crept into the local church. 
 
8:32 which says, "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." They confess this verse over and over again because they think it's a shortcut to freedom. Little do they know that not all believers will know the truth and be set free. This verse is almost always quoted out of context and to get the full meaning of what Jesus is saying one needs to back up and read vs. 31 first. "Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, 'If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.'" This verse is speaking to disciples. Being a believer doesn't automatically make you a disciple. In vs. 31 Jesus was talking to people who were already believers. He then said "if" and that is a conditional word. The Message Bible says, "If you stick with this, living out what I tell you, you are my disciples for sure." The Amplified Bible states, "If you abide in My word and hold fast to My teachings and live in accordance with them, you are truly My disciples." 
 
Believers are those who believe in Jesus but disciples are those who continue in His Word and become followers at any cost. Just like the student trains to become like his teacher, the true disciple of Jesus trains to become just like his Master. He seeks to become more and more like Him every day. In Greek the word "disciple" means 'learner' and 'follower' and is the same as being an intern and an apprentice. A disciple is not only a pupil but is an imitator of the teacher much like an oriental martial arts student who copies and mimics the ways and moves of his master. This is more than a scholastic study where you sit in a chair and take notes. You don't learn everything from a book but like in the eastern culture you imitate what you've been taught. This is not a small, trivial matter. It will cost you to become a disciple of Jesus like nothing has ever cost you before. Becoming a disciple requires a greater level of submission than a believer, a greater level of commitment. 
 
Jesus told some fishermen that from now on they'd be fishing for men and women and "they forsook all and followed Him" (Luke 5:10,11). This describes the beginning of becoming a disciple of Jesus. Luke 5:27,28 says, "After these things He went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, 'Follow Me.' And he left all, rose up, and followed Him." This is not the same as saying "believe in Me" because only believing in Him will not change your lifestyle. If your life and priorities don't completely change, then you didn't become a disciple, you just became a believer. Becoming a disciple will require great discipline on your part. You will have to live like a highly trained athlete and the Holy Spirit will be your personal trainer. He'll lead you and train you in the ways of the Master. Luke 6:40 says, "A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher." 
 
After Pentecost the disciples were operating just like Jesus. They told a crippled man "rise up and walk" and he did (Acts 3:6). They forsook all but soon realized that there is no price too high to become like Jesus and do the same things He did. Paul said in 1 Cor. 9:24, "Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it." This verse describes being a disciple and Paul compares it to having the lifestyle of a top athlete. Every athlete in training submits to strict discipline. He says in vs. 27, "But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified." The NIV says, "No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave." Other translations say, "I harden my body with blows" and "I beat my body black and blue." Paul is talking about training spiritually so that you can become a disciple of Jesus. 
 
You must train and maintain your spirituality at the level of an Olympic athlete who begins training when they're children. They train year after year and endure injuries and soreness and they follow a strict diet. You must discipline yourself and become like Paul who said, "I bring my body under total control." Millions of believers have no concept of this at all and we now live in a generation of weaklings and whining babies. When Paul was stoned to death he got up and went back to the same town he came from and preached the gospel. He was a highly disciplined disciple of the Lord and wrote in 2 Tim. 2:3, "You therefore must endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ." Olympic athletes and soldiers are all disciplined and don't get distracted and entangled with other things. To become a disciple you must commit yourself to the Lord and do what He tells you to do when he tells you to do it. It doesn't matter how you feel. The Lord needs you when He needs you, not when it's convenient for you.
 
It is a good thing to become a disciple of Jesus and is worth any sacrifice you'll have to make. In Luke 14:26,27 Jesus told a great multitude of people that becoming a disciple will cost them everything for it requires a great commitment. "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." Jesus is not saying to literally hate your family but to love them less than you love Him. He said in Matt. 10:37, "He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me." Many believers are not disciples because daily they demonstrate that they love somebody else more than Him. It may appear to be a noble thing to say that your family is your top priority in life but if family comes first then God is not first and you cannot be His disciple. 
 
To obey the Lord's command to "follow Me" will change your life and your priorities dramatically but there is nothing better in existence than a life committed to Jesus. He's training you to rule and reign with Him for all eternity in His glorious kingdom. The price to become a disciple cannot be compared to the glory that is to be revealed. Jesus taught about the true cost of discipleship in Luke 9:57-62, "Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, 'Lord, I will follow You wherever You go.' And Jesus said to him, 'Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere tolay His head.' Then He said to another, 'Follow Me.' But he said, 'Lord, let me first go and bury my father.' Jesus said to him, 'Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.' And another also said, 'Lord, I will follow You but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.' But Jesus said to him, 'No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.'" 
 
No man can serve two masters (Luke 16:13) and there is a place for only one person at the top of your priority list. Family does not come first, nor does your job or education or anything else. There is one Master, one Lord, and He is to be first. Many people miss the plan of God because of procrastination for family's sake. They wait until their elderly parents die or until their children finish school or until their business becomes successful. Months turn into years, years turn into decades and, before they know it, their life is over. If you choose a person over God, that person will not love you for it or be thankful for you for doing it. If you miss the plan of God because of your spouse or children it will not endear you to them. Even if you do what they ask they will not respect you for it because they'll see you as being weak even though they won't admit it. Down in their heart they know you're being disobedient to God and there are millions of people in this situation right now. 
 
If you want the perfect will of God for your life then you must do the perfect will of God in accordance to His plan. The best favor you can do for somebody you love is obey God. Go with Him whether they go with you or not.
Many believers say they want to be a disciple of the Lord but do they really know what they're saying? People move and speak too quickly and make commitments based on what feels good at the time without counting the cost. Jesus said, "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 it, all who see it begin to mock him" (Luke 14:28,29). Consider the cost before you start. People set goals all the time but aren't honest with themselves that it's going to cost them something and whether or not they're willing to pay the price for what they want. It will cost you to buy that new house and to lose that thirty pounds. How much do you want to become a disciple of the Lord? Be honest with yourself. Do you want it enough to pay the price? 
 
After telling the multitude to count the cost Jesus said, "So, likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple" (vs.33). Some things are worth paying the price for. Do whatever it takes to become like Jesus. You are not your own for you were bought with a price. You have a Master and you are in training to be just like Him. You can pray like Jesus prayed and you can help people like Jesus helped people. There will be hardness and tough trials to endure but you must gird up your loins and press forward. Marathon runners experience great pain but they keep going anyhow. They set their face like flint and they've got their eyes on the finish line. They push themselves past all comfort levels and bypass past performance levels. They push through the pain for they consider it worth the price for what they will accomplish. There is a cost involved in becoming a disciple of Jesus but too many people think of this in a negative sense. People get quiet and uncomfortable when you talk about sacrifice and submission. 
 
We live in a no-sacrifice generation and people don't like to be asked to give up anything, but Jesus said to become His disciple you must give up everything. Many boldly proclaim that they'll die for the Lord but won't clean toilets at church or stand in the heat and cold to help park cars at the church service. They won't go to church if they were up late the night before or if the weather is too bad even though bad weather won't keep them from going to work on Monday morning. They'll die for Jesus but won't live for Him, won't lose sleep for Him, and won't miss a meal for the gospel's sake. Becoming a disciple requires a greater commitment than what many believers are willing to give. A disciple is to be like a highly-disciplined athlete and a well-trained soldier who push themselves and endure strict training. An athlete may not feel like running ten miles every day but he does it anyway. You learn by doing for it's the doer who gets results. Paul told Timothy, "So, my son, throw yourself into the work for Christ" (2 Tim. 2:1 MSG). 
 
When you're strong you don't talk about how you feel. You lay your feelings aside and do what you're supposed to do. Strong Christians have feelings but are not ruled by them. Your training will teach you that when the Master tells you to do something you lay aside your feelings and do what He says. Soldiers have a sense of duty and when they're given orders they pick up their gear and go no matter how hot or cold it is or how dangerous the situation appears to be. You've got to be willing to step out in faith and stay with it even if in the natural you see no immediate results and it looks like you made the wrong decision. If you're His disciple and He's leading you in a certain direction then you go where He tells you to go and stay where He tells you to stay. There are millions of believers who are content just being saved and they don't even try to become like Jesus. 
 
Most churches are filled with believers and non-believers and maybe three disciples and they do all the work. These same three people volunteer for everything. They have other things to do but don't have more important things going on so that they would neglect the work of the ministry. You make time for what's important to you and if you're bothered about making sacrifices for Jesus then you're not worthy to be His disciple. Paul said, "Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ as my Master firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant - dog dung. I've dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by Him" (Phil. 3:7-9 MSG). This life will be over with real soon and there will be no reward in heaven for how high you climbed the corporate ladder or how much money you saved and how early you were able to retire. 
 
In the Parable of the Great Supper (Luke 14:15-29) the Master said "Come" but all the people made excuses for they had other things to do. Many are called to become disciples but few accept the invitation, few make the commitment. The Master got angry at all their excuses and even today there are millions of believers all over the world who won't show up. There is no good enough reason not to accept the invitation to "come." God uses people who are available, people who will come, people who will show up, people who have made a greater commitment to follow Him and do what He says to do. Is all this possible? Yes!! It's what you're made for. You are predestined to become like Jesus. It's your destiny, your future. It's why you exist. You're not here to punch a time-clock, mow the grass, and wash a pile of dirty clothes. You're here to become just like Jesus.
 
To become a disciple of Jesus you must train yourself like an Olympic athlete and discipline yourself like a good soldier. Keep your mind and your mouth and your desires under control. Every day you're becoming more and more like the Master. Philip said, "Show us the Father" and Jesus responded, "If you've seen Me, you've seen the Father" (John 14:8,9). Our goal is exactly the same thing. If people see us, they've seen Jesus. If they've seen Jesus, they've seen the Father. People who believe they can get the same results as Jesus but not live like He lived believe they are above the Master. If Jesus sought the Father's will and only did those things that pleased Him, then you must do the same thing. You must become like Jesus. Luke 6:40 (AMP) says, "A pupil is not superior to his teacher but everyone, when he's completely trained, readjusted, restored, set to rights and perfected, will be like his teacher." The purpose of becoming a disciple is to be just like Jesus. 
 
Millions of people all over the world are believers but that's all they are. They believe Jesus died for their sins and they confess Him as their Savior and that's all they do. They go to church sometimes and read a Bible verse here and there and they pray when they get into trouble. These believers are oblivious to anything beyond confessing Jesus as their Savior. Another group believes they can become like Jesus but are unwilling to do what it takes and are not willing to change their life enough to become like Him. And then there are the few, the faithful, the disciples. They believe they can become like Jesus and that there is no price too high to become His disciple here and now in this life. 1 John 4:17 says, "As He is, so are we in this world." That's what you're called to do, become like Jesus here and now in this world, to be conformed to His likeness and His image. The objective is to be so radically changed that when people see you they see Jesus. Even people who don't know Jesus will hear Him when they hear you talk and see Him when they see you act. 
 
I John 3:2 says, "Beloved, now are we children of God." When? Now! You can be more like Jesus today than you were yesterday and more tomorrow than you are today. You should strive to be like Jesus every day from the moment your eyes open in the morning to the time you lay down to sleep at night. Be willing to make radical changes in your life and make up your mind to be one of the chosen few. Jesus said in Matt. 9:37, "The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few" and Matt. 20:16 states, "So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen." People call themselves "Christian" yet there are many believers who are nothing like Jesus. People who say "I'm only human" are saying don't be surprised if they sin and don't become like Jesus. Isaiah 59:19 says, "When the enemy comes in, like a flood the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him." A disciple has a standard and His Name is Jesus. A Christian is "one like the Christ" for He is their standard. 
 
In Biblical times before the people were called "Christians" they were first called "disciples." It was the disciples whose standard had not been dropped and lowered who were called "Christians." A "standard" is a banner or emblem much like a country's flag represents what the people believe and what they hold precious and valuable and important. It is "a degree or level of requirement, excellence, or attainment that is widely recognized or employed as a model of authority or excellence." Discipline yourself daily to stand strong and hold fast to the standard Jesus set. Hold up the standard and live by it. Stop watching bad television shows and speak the truth in love. Don't lie and watch porno movies and commit adultery. We have one standard and it's the Master. Eph. 4:13 (AMP) says, "that you may arrive at really mature manhood, completeness of personality which is nothing less than the standard height of Christ's own perfection." This is what you are called to. The New Living Bible says, "Measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ." 
 
How do you measure up? You need to change and don't be conformed to this world (Rom. 12:2). The world is telling you that homosexual marriage is an acceptable behavior and that it's okay to kill babies before they're born. The enemy is the inventor of low standards and the more you tolerate what is wrong the lower you'll go. Tolerance is the first step toward conformity and today the world has no standard and has fallen into a bottomless pit of sin and deception. Jesus is the standard by which every person will be judged. No longer is He called "the only begotten Son of God." Now He is called "the firstborn among many brethren" (Rom. 8:29), people just like Him. He's the King of kings and Lord of lords. Disciples are in training to be kings and lords. They're the kings He's King of, kings just like Him. He'll show you the light and then you raise your standard and walk in it. There is no price too high to fulfill your destiny to become like Jesus. The more like Him you become, the better your life will be, the more you'll live the good life.
 


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