There was a time in history when becoming a Christian was a much more complicated process than it is today. There are many recorded stories of people who waited days, weeks, or even months for the process to be complete. Yet we enter into salvation through a simple prayer. Is this because they didn’t understand the uncomplicated reality of what it took to become a Christian? Perhaps. Or, maybe it is because of them that the process is so simple for us. Maybe the ground they paved created a pathway for us to enter into faith with ease. Most likely, it is a combination of both.
Either way, we should all be thankful for the simplicity of the gospel! What a wondrous thing that we can be separated from the Lord in one moment and united with Him as His child in the next. How amazing to be hopelessly lost in a sea of darkness only to suddenly be redeemed and transformed in the light of the heaven! The simplicity of the process, however, shouldn’t be confused with cost of it.
In Matthew 13:44-46, Jesus illustrates the cost beautifully:
“ The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.”
Becoming a Christian isn’t simply about adopting a certain mindset. It isn’t even about believing in Jesus. It is about putting your faith in what Jesus did and becoming His follower. This is not without cost. (Of course, anything you give up doesn’t compare to what you gain, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t require sacrifice.)
Like the parable illustrates, the Kingdom is worthy of sacrifice. Not only that, but it requires it! But giving things up can be difficult. Not only because of the sacrifice but because of the risk associated. After all, you are giving up the known for the unknown. What if you give up everything only to find out later that it wasn’t worth it? This may seem a blasphemous thing to say, but I don’t think it offends the Lord. He understands that being His child requires faith. And the very essence of faith is believing in something that there is often no tangible evidence of.
The good news is that the Lord designed it this way. It takes courage to attain the Kingdom, but the Lord designed us to be courageous. This means that courage is a necessary ingredient to entering into the very life we were created to live. It is often moments that require courage that we make us feel the most alive. This is because courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is acting in spite of fear. Being courageous is doing something even though you are trembling. As you do, you push past previous boundaries that have contained you and grow more fully into who you were created to be.
A good example of stepping out in courage is found in the life of Moses. (You can read his story starting in the book of Exodus.) Moses was born into slavery in Egypt. However, his life takes a dramatic turn and, though he is an Israelite, he is raised in Pharaoh’s household. His life takes another dramatic turn when he takes matters of justice into his own hands, which results in him killing a man and then fleeing for his life. Despite this, many years and miles later, he is chosen by God to bring the Israelites out of slavery and into the promised land.
What an amazing—and terrifying—thing. Following the Lord into his destiny would require Moses to have much courage. Something, that at least initially, he appeared to lack. Instead, he is full of excuses—just as we often are when the Lord invites us to follow Him into our destiny.
Let’s examine some of the excuses Moses made. Do you see yourself in any of them?
- Who I am, that you would choose me? — In other words: Don’t you know my failings? My shortcomings? I am not qualified for what is before me (even if I want it).
- Who are you? What’s your name? — In other words: How will I represent you to people? How will I explain who you are? What if the people don’t recognize (or believe) in You?
- What if they don’t believe me? — In other words: What if they don’t support me? What if no one understands what I’m doing? What if they don’t come on board?
While it is easy to look back and wonder at Moses’s seeming lack of faith, don’t we ask those same questions sometimes? It takes courage to follow where the Lord is leading! Let’s look at how God answered Moses. Do you hear the Lord answering you in any of them?
- Who are you?— I am with you. In other words: this isn’t about you. It’s about Me.
- Who am I? — I AM WHO I AM. In other words: I feel no need to prove myself to anyone. (And neither should you.) I can be trusted. I am the only true God, the one who has always been and will be. I will always be proven true. You can be confident in this.
- What if they don’t believe me? — You don’t need their support. I’ve already equipped you for this. When you step out in obedience there will be supernatural life on what I’ve already given you.
In the end, as we know, Moses does go. And history is forever changed. It is interesting that after Moses begins his journey to Egypt, the Lord tells him that one of the big obstacles he faced in returning to Egypt had been removed. (When Moses fled Egypt, he was fleeing for his life. But, by the time the Lord was telling him to go back, those in Egypt who wanted to kill him were dead. Ex. 4:18-19) The Lord had known this the whole time, but He waited to reveal this to Moses. He did so because He wanted the source of Moses’s confidence to be Him, not in his circumstances.
Just like He wants to be the source of our confidence. When the Lord is asking us to follow Him to places that require courage, He already knows the answer to that which is giving us fear. But, He often won’t reveal that to us until after we have stepped out. That’s because this walk is one of faith. And, if we can learn to have Him as our source of confidence and courage? Well, then we will follow Him anywhere. We will be unstoppable. And that has been His plan all along.