Counting All Things Loss in View of Our Treasury, Jesus Christ

Something every Christian ought to do – and I would say immediately upon conversion – is count the cost of following Jesus Christ. In Philippians 3 Paul defines the Christian as one who worships by the Spirit of God, glories in Christ Jesus, puts no confidence in the flesh, and as one who considers the cost of knowing Christ, counting all things loss in order to gain Him. Our Lord said as much, and the apostle Paul was certainly convinced. Jesus said,

“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me…whoever loses his life for my sake will save it,” Luke 9:23.

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid the foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish,'” Luke 14:26-30.

These things our Lord said when great crowds accompanied him. Does this not seem to contrast in a great way the methodology of today designed to bring masses of people in to the church? He does not comfort them with worldly pleasantries – no, to be a disciple of Jesus Christ you had to write LOSS over those things that are most dear to you in this world – your wife, your children, your family and friends, etc. But there is good reason: Jesus is the Treasure; Jesus is to be our dearest delight. He comforts us rather with the prospect of Himself – Jesus is our only GAIN. This is (but by grace) a nearly unbearable word – when a child comes forth from the womb, a climactic moment in this life, we write “loss” over them for the sake of Christ so that if we actually suffered the loss of them (although we will rightly grieve with many tears and sorrows and wailings) we will not be sidelined for the cause of Christ, but rather we will know Christ more intimately, extol Him more passionately, describe Him to the lost more all-satisfyingly – Christ is the Treasure, and He is our portion…forever.

If we treasure Jesus above all else, then “all else” becomes expendable for His sake. If Christ is most dear to us, and we suffer the loss of those things beneath Him, then we maintain that no matter the loss, Christ we still have. What is it to suffer the loss of those things which we have already considered loss…that we may gain Christ and be found in Him? I find this extremely heavy but a necessary meditation. Have I..have you counted the cost of following Christ, and thus, written LOSS over everything because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus our Lord? Not only our pre-Christian confidence in the flesh as the basis of salvation, although this is essential to salvation; but everything that in any circumstance would hinder us from knowing, gaining, and treasuring Christ above all else!

Our Lord told Ananias of Paul, “For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name,” – a name that Christ chose Paul to carry to the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel, – and why is suffering for carrying this name essentially linked, – because, “there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved,” Acts 4:12. That is, to the exclusion of every other name – Buddha, Muhammad, or Brian. This will cause us to suffer – carrying the name in which lies the Person and Work unto an exclusive salvation. But do we not, like Paul, carry that name as Christians?

What was Paul doing after his encounter with Christ – we find him praying, spending time with the disciples for “some days”, stowing away into Arabia for three years, staying with Peter for 15 days, – why? Why all of this spiritual discipline, all of this musing? In part, I think, Paul was counting the cost of following Jesus Christ, – Christ was “(showing) him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” And one by one, Paul wrote LOSS over everything – everythingon purpose – that he might gain Christ and be found in Him, that he would know Him and the power of His resurrection.

In view of the supremacy of Christ have I…have you counted the cost and found all things LOST for His sake? What things have you counted LOSS? What things must you reckon still that you have not yet? “If anyone comes to me and does not hate…his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” May we all count the cost in view of the indescribable beauty of our Lord Jesus Christ and the promise that we have in Him, for if we have Him we have all things pertaining to life and godliness and glory.

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