Note: This is the second in a series. Check out the first post here if you missed it.
Most people love free stuff. Free food, free clothes, free furniture, free advice, a free vacation. In fact, we’ll give personal information, drive out of our way, answer silly questions, or buy something we don’t need, just to get something for free. It makes me laugh, just writing this. So, was it really free?
The older I get, the more aware I become of underlying costs. Even when money is not exchanged, in one way or another, there’s always a price to receiving.
- You give strangers access to your Inbox in exchange for free information.
- You trade space in your closet (and often, free advertising) for a free t-shirt.
- You have to give up old ways of thinking to gain new knowledge or understanding.
- You pay the price of listening to a sales pitch while on vacation to get that free hotel room.
These may seem minor, but when you don’t recognize this trade-off, you tend to make random decisions, ending up where you didn’t expect to go and doing what you don’t ultimately desire. If you’re not careful, you won’t realize the actual price you paid nor fully value what you received. Only in acknowledging these definitives do we wholly embrace our decisions.
Counting the Cost
This principle also applies to our spiritual lives. Too often we look at the promises of God as free gifts, not understanding we must make an exchange in order to receive what He is offering. Without realizing, we often forfeit His best for our lives by assuming we simply receive with no cost on our part.
While reading through Luke the last few weeks, I was struck again by how often Jesus told his disciples and the crowds that being His disciple came with a cost. A high cost.
Jesus said to the crowd, ‘There is a great cost for anyone to enter through the narrow doorway into God’s kingdom. I tell you, many will want to enter but won’t be able to.” (Luke 13:23b TPT)
“Anyone who comes to Me must be willing to share My cross and experience it as his own, or he cannot be considered to be My disciple. So don’t follow Me without considering what it will cost you. For who would construct a house before first sitting down to estimate the cost to complete it.” (Luke 14:27-28 TPT)
This cost is not the same as trying to earn something from God. In fact, He wants to give you what you cannot earn, create, or control. He wants to give you Himself.
What does He ask in exchange?
This is where relationship comes into play. Where He shines light on whatever is between you and Him, and asks for that. The bottom line is, He wants you. Your attention. Your affection. Your honesty. Your faith. Your trust. Your opinions. Your weaknesses and strengths. Your will. Your selfishness (in all its forms). Your highs and your lows. These are the price for God’s character and glory manifesting in and through us. These are the cost of being one with Jesus.
When Little Things Become Big
I love to write, but after taking most of the last two years off to spend time with my parents and take care of some health issues, it hasn’t been so easy to get back into a rhythm. Physically or mentally. Little whispers of insecurity hovered over my head causing me to procrastinate. I wrote tons in my journals, but couldn’t seem to get it on my computer. Fear was lurking and I wasn’t putting up much of a fight.
In that special way He often breaks into my thoughts, my perfect and loving Father said, “Amy, you’re going to be miserable until you start writing.” And He was right. I knew it. I also knew that in order to step into the grace and anointing to write again, I had to give Him my doubts, my insecurities, my questions, and my fingers. These seemingly little things were standing between me and the One I love.
This process of exchange may look a little different for each of us, but we cannot remain who we think we are or cling to what we have and expect to receive the fullness of all God desires to give. I won’t lie. It’s not always easy. I don’t always do it well. But I wouldn’t trade back one thing I’ve received for the rubbish I’ve given up.
The Great Exchange
Think about the stories Jesus told and the people He encountered. Over and over He taught and demonstrated the importance of leaving the old behind in order to receive the new. Not a chopped up version of mixing parts of the old with parts of the new, but a wholehearted exchange of one for the other.
- A blind man received his sight by pouring out all of his faith on Jesus (Luke 18:35-43).
- The woman at the well exchanged her shame for truth and a new life (John 4:5-30).
- A son gave up his selfishness and poverty for the forgiveness and lavish love of his father (Luke 15:11-24).
- A lame man gave Jesus his disappointment, doubt, and excuses to receive hope and healing (John 5:1-9).
- Two disciples relinquished logic to obey Jesus’ words and witnessed His divine knowledge (Luke 19:28-36).
- Servants at a wedding gave their obedience for the privilege of witnessing water turn to wine (John 2:1-11).
The list of examples is endless. Jesus’ message was always the same: Give Me your lack, and I’ll give you My abundance. Give Me your pain, and I’ll give you My wholeness. Give Me the seed of your life to plant in My kingdom, and I’ll give you the Tree of Life. Give Me your all, and I’ll give you My all.
What an outrageous thought: the Creator of all things would willingly connect Himself to His creation in such an intimate, humble way. He wants to share His wisdom, power, authority, and character with mankind. He desires for you to be like Him. He created you to display His beauty, wisdom, and love. This is better than anything Free has to offer!
All or Nothing
Jesus is 100% invested in you, and He asks the same from you. All in. Nothing held back. No personal rights or agendas. No hedging your bets.
Remember, you can’t receive God’s truth if you’re intent on holding onto your own version of truth. You can’t receive His grace to do what seems impossible if you won’t lay down your own strength, wisdom, and control. But in the giving, you’ll receive all you’ve dreamed of, and more. In the surrender, you become a true disciple.
I encourage you, read the bible through the lens of receiving. I am and it’s opening my eyes to the possibilities and responsibilities of living as a new creation in Jesus.
As you read, ask the Holy Spirit to shine light on these areas in your life…
- What does God want to give me, but I keep pushing away?
- What’s holding me back from receiving?
- What do You want me to give, to fully receive from You, Father?
I’d love to hear your thoughts and share your journey. Comment below and let’s celebrate how our Creator is drawing us deeper into Himself.