Getting Close to Christ is Costly

By David J. Stewart

“ Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” —2nd Timothy 3:12

       In sharp contrast to the heretical health, wealth and prosperity preaching of our time, the Bible teaches that getting too close to Christ will be costly. In fact, it'll cost you everything if you get too close.

Most believers have been errantly taught that God wants them to be happy, and to have their prayers answered and for everything in this life to go in their favor. However, Romans 8:29 tells us... “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son.” God's purpose for us is that we be CONFORMED INTO THE IMAGE OF CHRIST. The only way this can happen is if we SUFFER with Jesus. Romans 8:17 states: “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” God's will is that we SUFFER as Jesus suffered that we might be increasingly conformed into the image of Christ. If we never go through trials and tribulation, then we'll never grow.

A faith must be tested. The Apostle Paul was broke financially. Paul wasn't lazy. Paul wasn't uneducated. Paul followed Christ too closely and was persecuted for it. If you want to follow Jesus Christ, I mean really follow Him, then you will have no choice but to pick up a cross and be crucified with Him. The Bible warns us in 2nd Timothy 3:12 that those who live godly in Christ Jesus SHALL SUFFER. There is no way around it. If you claim to follow Jesus Christ, and are not suffering, then you are not living godly. Godly living in Christ Jesus means preaching the Gospel to lost sinners, departing from sin and making a difference for Christ in this world. The unsaved world hates Jesus, hates the Bible, and hates those believers who exemplify the Lord in their life . . .

“If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also” (John 15:19-20).

Being a born-again Christian has never been popular with the sinful world. Jesus said that a man's enemies would be they of his own household. When you're a Christian, the Devil will turn everybody who is unsaved or away from the Lord against you...

“And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 10:36-39).

But Jesus tells us that we must decide between Him and our loved ones. Jesus must be the center hub of our life. If we center our life around our spouse or children, then our life will fall apart when they abandon us or depart. It's so important that we make Jesus Christ the center of our life, so that we may be able to weather the severe storms of this life, with all its disappointments, heartaches, failures and times of overwhelming loneliness.

If we love the Lord Jesus more than our loved ones, then we will be able to continue living for Him even when our loved ones forsake us, and hurt us and forget about us. Jesus is always with us... “and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:20).

Many people today go around talking about Jesus, love and faith; but they don't want to endure any suffering, heartache or woe. But you can be assured that the heartache, problems, tiredness, disappointments, loneliness, overwhelming grief, tribulation and frightening times will come into your life. It's just a matter of time friend. Whether or not you make it will depend upon your relationship with Jesus Christ. If Jesus is the center hub of your life, as seen in the center hub of the wagon wheel pictured to the right, then all the weight of the cart and its tremendous load will be carried by Christ and not you alone.

When you decide to live for God, Satan will come after you with all the hordes of Hell... “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Because of Peter's loyalty to Jesus Christ, Satan desired to sift him as wheat... “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat” (Luke 22:31). And you can be rest assured my friend that Satan wants to sift you as wheat too. Sifting means to pass through a strainer, to separate grain. Satan wants to sift us and rob us of everything dear to us in life. The more you do for God, the more Satan will come after you. The Devil will cause your closest friends and dearest loved ones to become your bitterest enemies, and do you the most harm.

Our only hope is to put on the armour of God: truth, righteousness, the Gospel, faith, salvation, the Word of God and prayer (Ephesians 6:13-18). It should not be surprising when loved ones or friends suddenly turn against us, for this is what the Lord said would happen in Matthew 10:36. All we can do is pray for our enemies, search the Scriptures, go soulwinning with the Gospel, live for the Lord and rejoice that our name is written in Heaven. Amen!

Getting close to Christ is costly, so costly that you'll eventually lose everything in your life . . . 

 “And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” —Matthew 10:38-39


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