Some of us want to do more than just enjoy the benefits that God bestows. We want to serve him in some capacity, either full-time in a professional ministry, or part-time as a lay person, whichever he prefers.
God says we must count the cost when considering this outcome. We need to be ready, willing, and able to commit ourselves to him unconditionally, without any reservations.
Counting the cost means giving up figurative 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.
- 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.
- Description of the person you aspire to be, e.g., character qualities, social skills, wholeness.
- What you are currently doing, e.g., attending school, pursuing a career, volunteering at church.
- What you would like to do in the future, e.g., desires, goals, dreams.
- Your victories, e.g., achievements, accolades, successes, things you are proud of.
- Your baggage, e.g., past mistakes, failures, disappointments, things you are not proud of.
- 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 deficiencies, e.g., health, education, training.
- Your restrictions, e.g., family obligations, physical limitations, financial constraints.
At the bottom of your list, write the following prayer.
“God, I want to become the person you want me to be, so I can fulfill the plan you have prepared for me. I now give you ownership of each item on this list so that you can align my life with your will. I ask you to build your message into my life so I can speak authentically about your excellence. I ask you to give me the character, wisdom, and experience that will enable me to be your faithful and effective messenger. I ask you to give me the noble desires that will help me discover my divine destiny. I am willing to go wherever you want and do whatever you want. Help me to walk in harmony with you for the rest of my life. 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. Store it somewhere safe.
Counting the cost of following God is a serious undertaking, but permitting him 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 is a significant 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 hearts. Our pursuit of these noble desires leads to the divine destiny God has planned for us.
Thus, following him is to gain, not to lose. He helps us figure out where we truly want to go, and 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 us to convey to the world.
Our history becomes his story.