Training for Reigning - 17 - Counting the cost

‘GIVE ME LIBERTY, or give me death," cried Patrick Henry, as he stormed against the Stamp Act, and sought to rouse the American colonists to fight for independence. And many young persons have echoed that cry within their own souls when, with unwelcome living conditions they have found themselves:
-Trapped by circumstances;
-Hedged in by compulsive duties;
-Thwarted, frustrated by this thing and that;
-Yet compelled to keep on going when they long to "fly away and be at rest" from it all (Psalm 55. 6). Many a Christian, I repeat, finds himself, herself, cornered in this way.
And many a proud spirit, striving to be self-sufficient, like Saul of Tarsus, continues "to kick against the goads" finding the effort painful, hard, and unrewarding except as this expression of their rebellion against circumstances may serve to keep their spirits from fainting in their adversities - . . an inward conviction advising them they simply must keep up the struggle at all costs, lest they sink down into hopelessness, despair. To these dear harassed Christians it seems certain that to give up the battle could be nothing less than fatal. The Voice that called in salvation’s day, "Come unto Me, all ye that labour, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest," seems much too impractical for all these forms of problems. And yet, THAT BLESSED VOICE IS CALLING STILL!
"‘Oh well, of course I do come to Him in prayer, and I do try to cast my burden on the Lord. But then, oh well you just wouldn’t understand."
I see . . . yet not too clearly because behaviour patterns and their resultant reactions are pretty much an open book these days. Moreover I suspect that I have come over about as many humps and hollows of emotional conflict as most ordinary folk. Still, even if it be true that I wouldn’t understand, there are three things of vastly more importance to consider. The first one is that, if there be such conflicts in your life, it is an absolute proof spiritually, and psychologically, that you do not understand yourself. The second is that there is One Who understands you through and through. And it is He Who calls you again to come to Him, to take His yoke upon you, and to learn of Him- that is, if you honestly do desire to find rest to your soul; Matthew 11: 28-29.
In those days when we were troubled about our sins it was none to easy to admit to ourselves that we were utterly bankrupt sinners. For some of us it was a hard fight to get ourselves down, down to the place of admitting that we were lost, undone -"to come to an end of ourselves." We feared to let go altogether, for then we felt we surely would be lost! And in a similar way it often proves every bit as much a battle for saved sinners to get down to the facts that, in ourselves, there is no sinlessness, Romans 7: 17; no goodness, verse 18; no power to live as we should, verse 19. These commonly are called "the three bitter lessons of Romans 7." They are necessary lessons for those of us who have not yet learned, in practice, our bankruptcy . . . that we died
- died - yes, DIED when Christ died on the cross: Romans 6: 3-9; 2 Corinthians 5: 14; Galatians 2: 20. For is it not a fact that most of our conflicts grow out of five things?
-We can’t have, or can’t get, what we want.
-We can’t do what we want to do.
-We can’t be what we want to be.
-We can’t go where we want to go.
-We can’t get clear of some person, or persons, who cause us trouble.
If you can agree that this is, then our third important consideration will have to be that you - or we - have not yet understood that people who have died do not have such concerns! Those Christians who have learned to "reckon" themselves "dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 6:11) count that all such concerns stayed down there in the tomb when we died with Christ. Oh yes, I know that we rose again with Him; but that was to walk in newness of life - a new kind of life altogether - a kind of life where me and my desires do not matter at all, where nothing matters - nothing whatever - except the will of God. But please - oh please! - do not wring your hands and cry out in despair, "That’s far too high ground for me!"
Neither let yourself say, "I must count the cost! I know within myself I just never could pay the price!" Instead, ask yourself, "Was it too great a cost for me to step out of my sins into Christ, that day I was saved?" And tell me this: Would you care to go back (if you could) into your former "lost estate"? Did you find you had paid an intolerable price after the Holy Spirit had revealed to your troubled soul both a finished work, and a Saviour who had finished that work? If you did not, then can you suppose that to step out of your self-centred life into the life where Christ is truly Lord will cost you more?
Oh no, Beloved! It cannot be; for He Who paid the cost of our redemption by dying on the cross, now lives to save us by His life: Romans 5: 10. Just as the Good Samaritan, who first rescued the man on the Jericho road, afterwards assumed the full costs of his further care (Luke 10: 35) so, too, does the Lord Jesus make Himself responsible for those who obey the command in Romans 6: 13. For the word telling us "yield yourselves unto God as those that are alive from the dead" is a command, every bit as forceful as that relating to Baptism . . . even as is Romans 12: 1; which is exemplified in 2 Corinthians 8: 5, and is made good in our lives by daily renewal; 2 Corinthians 4: 16 - But what about counting the cost?
If you will read Luke 14: 25-33 you will have the Lord’s answer. In verses 25-27 He tells us bluntly that total abandonment to Himself is the threshold leading to Discipleship, even as in Rom. 6: 13. Then He gives us two illustrative parables re counting the cost.
-The man who is not able to finish his tower will surely hear Satan’s sneers and mockery; verse 30.
-The King who essays with a small army to make war on one twice its size, if he be not able to defeat it, surely will have to send an embassage to the enemy seeking conditions of peace . .
And are we not among the number, Beloved, who have heard those Satanic jeerings because we have had to see, so often, our hopes of living "all for Jesus" go glimmering? And how often, also, we have given up, and sought conditions of peace!
But for what reason?
Clearly the cause of such defeats is our failure to count the cost. But then, WHAT IS THE COST?
In both parables the men were not able. Their need was that there should be SOMEONE IN CHARGE WHO WAS ABLE. And this is the cost - the only cost. We, ourselves, are not able. But HE IS ABLE. And handing ourselves, and our all, over to Him we are abandoning our inabilities in order to avail ourselves of His infinite ability. Compare Joshua 5: 13. For not in independence, but in total dependence on the Lord, even as little children, do we begin to enter into the meaning of Matthew 11: 29. Was there ever one more wholly dependent on God than our Exemplar, the Lord Jesus, as a Man upon earth? And was His dependence "worth while"?