Counting the Cost of Building
For those who have built houses, bought houses, gotten married, gone away to college or have made any other similar major life decision, they understand that there are always hidden costs.
At face value the decision may look simple: there is the house and so here is the money; this is the place we love, the kind of food we like, the budget is this; college tuition and dorm are straight forward--we got this! Next thing you know, the house has internal water damage; the food, invitations, guest list, cake, and tables are growing faster and faster; and after paying all the hidden college fees on your bill, you may be eating ramen for the rest of the semester.
The point is that these life decisions are wonderful, but they all require responsibility, some planning, and a wider perspective than at first glance.
Like these examples, spiritual choices have consequences as well. Both Matthew 16:24-28 and Luke 9:23-27 talk about the consequences of being a disciple, just as Romans 12:1-2 talk about the idea of being a “living sacrifice” and giving your life to God. Therefore, it is important to think about the responsibility that comes with being a disciple, because getting baptized is not something you do just because. When you get baptized, you are making a commitment to God to grow in your relationship with Him, to live your life for the glory of His name, and to respect that commitment through obeying His doctrine/commandments.
I know this may sound daunting, but the reward in return is more beautiful than anything we could fathom. Many people ask me: “Why did you stop cursing?” “Why did you change?” “What happened?” The only answer in my mind is that, the person they knew, the “old” me, was never truly me. The person I am today is the person I always wanted to be and the only way I can say that “I am who I am” is because God said it for me in Exodus 3:14.
Through baptism I became a part of God as much as He became a part of me, and in doing so I have everything. I have become more patient and wiser in how I handle my relationships and hardships in life. I have been more content with God than I have ever been. The fact that I have faith in His healing, in His love, and in His sustaining hands has bestowed me with more beauty and love than I ever knew possible. That is only speaking on Earth as well, so I can only imagine what my eternal life is going to be like!
That is not to say that I don’t struggle, have low points, worry in the moment or mess up like any other human. But, I knew what was being asked of me when I got baptized so I know who I can turn to for help and guidance. Now that I have a strong relationship with God, I ONLY worry in the moment instead of longer because He gives me strength.
One way to have a strong relationship with God is by following what is said in Luke 14:25-34. Here Jesus mentions the biggest call one must make when they decide to be a disciple. That is to hate those that are close to you and those that you love. Jesus means that you must love Him with a love so profound that in comparison it is as if you hate your father, brother, sister, etc.
And to love God this strongly is the promise you make when getting baptized. For this promise I want to have a zeal as strong as Ezra in studying, observing, and teaching the Word (Ezra 7:10), as well as continually talking to God, recognizing His blessings and all that He does. If we put God and His love above all else, then life is not only more enjoyable but also more worth living!