Some of us want to do more than just enjoy the benefits God bestows. We want to serve him in some capacity, either full-time in a professional ministry, or part-time as a layman, whichever he prefers.
God says we must count the cost when considering this outcome. We need to be sure we are are ready, willing, and able to commit ourselves to him unconditionally, without any reservations.
Counting the cost means giving up ownership of everything we have, do, and are. It means agreeing to follow God on his terms, not ours. Jesus explains this concept in Luke 14:26-33.
If you are serious about serving God, and want to count the cost of following him unconditionally, find a pad of paper, and make a list of the following items.
- The good things you currently enjoy, e.g., activities, comforts, conveniences, hobbies, material items, relationships, career, etc.
- The good things you would like to enjoy in the future, if all your dreams were to come true.
- Everything you currently are as a person, e.g., strengths, weaknesses, interests, likes, dislikes, reputation, self-image, etc.
- Description of the person you would like to become.
- What you are currently doing, e.g., attending school, pursuing a career, volunteering at church, etc.
- What you would like to do in the future, e.g., desires, goals, dreams, etc.
- Your victories, e.g., achievements, accolades, successes, things you are proud of, etc.
- Your baggage, e.g.,. past mistakes, failures, disappointments, things you are not proud of, etc.
- The problems currently facing you.
- The sinful habits that plague you.
- The fears that haunt you.
- The uncertainties about the future that concern you.
- Your personal deficiencies, e.g., health, education, training, etc.
- Your restrictions, e.g., family obligations, physical limitations, financial constraints, etc.
At the bottom of your list, write the following prayer.
“God, I hereby surrender to you the ownership of every item on this list. I am willing to pay any price to become the person you want me to be and to fulfill your plan for me. I ask that you build your message into my life so I can speak authentically about your excellence. I ask that you give me the character, wisdom, and experience that will enable me to be your faithful and effective messenger. Above all else, I ask you to glorify yourself in and through me. To that end, I hereby authorize you to change me as you see fit and direct every aspect of my life. I am willing to go any place you want me to go and do anything you want me to do. Help me discover and follow the path you have prepared for me. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.”
Read this prayer out loud to God. Then sign your name underneath it and record the time and date. The prayer is now your contract with God, along with the list.
Counting the cost of following God is serious business. It should not be undertaken lightly.
However, giving God permission to reorient our life as he sees fit is nothing to fear.
God is not an ogre. He is not waiting for us to surrender everything we hold dear, so he can take away these things and make us miserable.
God has only good intentions for our future. He is fully committed to our welfare. He is worthy of our trust.
Surrendering our life to God represents a major step forward in the discovery of our divine destiny.
It frees him to instill in us the desires for the things that will truly satisfy our heart. Our pursuit of these desires leads to the divine destiny God has planned for us.
This is why following him means gain, not loss. He helps us figure out where we truly want to go, then he leads us down that path.
As we pursue our divine destiny, God transforms us, as necessary, and builds into our life the message that he wants to convey to the world.
Our history becomes his story.