Luke 14:28 "Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it?"
Jesus wants commitment from his followers. But he doesn't want you to commit your heart and life rashly. He wants you to count the cost. He wants yo to sit and examine the price of your surrender to Him.
When we bought the current house that we are living in we sat down with a financial adviser, a mortgage consultant, and a building estimator, and then we decided to commit ourselves to the contract. We did not just wake up one morning and decide to buy a house. We counted the cost. We planned. We investigated. We inquired.
Jesus is asking us to go through the same process as we commit our hearts to Him. Jesus doesn't want you to start a journey that you aren't willing to finish. He doesn't want you to ask Him to be a part of your life, only to find that you ask Him to leave later on because the relationship required too much effort. Before committing my life to be a follower of Jesus, I had to take an honest look at the deepest parts of my heart and I had to ask Him for strength to surrender what I considered to be "expensive" assets. I knew that I was going to have to give up some friendships in my life if I wanted to be connected to Christ. I knew I was going to have to exchange my desires for my future, for His desires for my life. I knew that I was committing to daily put to death my own selfish ambitions and instead be willing to choose righteousness instead.
I don't want the two of you to be robot Christians. I don't want the two of you to "walk with Jesus" while under my roof, and then the moment you enter in to the real world as a young adult forsake your God. I want each of you to determine in your heart the cost and the price for following Jesus. I want each of you to know the sacrifice, the effort, and the death of your own flesh that is required to be a follower of Jesus. I want you each to experience a love that captivates your souls, and in turn convinces you to follow Him regardless of the hardships.
I want you to count the cost, then pick up your cross and follow a man who loves you more than you could ever even love yourself. Inquire. Estimate. Examine. The story of Jesus was given to me by my parents. His love, His principles, His forgiveness, and His Power were continually shown to me by Mimi and Pop Pop. But I was flakey in my faith. I'd want to be close to Jesus for a little bit, but then I'd realize the cost, and I'd walk away. But when I was 16, I CHOSE Jesus for myself. I committed to Him. I counted the cost. I went in not with a blind faith that so many people think is necessary. I went in with eyes wide open fully estimating the price...myself. But then I think of the price that was paid for my freedom and my joy, suddenly the sacrifice of myself didn't seem so significant.
Be like the wise builder. Don't follow blindly, because then you aren't owning your faith-and when trials and tribulations come, you'll walk away. Don't follow because I do or because your dad does. My prayer for you is that you follow because you've counted the cost, and you realize that Jesus, and a present and eternal life with Him, is worth it.