When we consider following Christ, we should consider those who have already walked those paths and given the investment involved in doing so. When we do so, our most direct examples, the most impactful lives and testimonies are in scripture and in the early church.
When we look over scripture, we must fact the fact that every single disciple was persecuted and killed for their faith in Jesus. If we consider the rich young man in Mark 10:17-31, we see the level to which we are called to sacrifice. Jesus tells this young wealthy individual whom has been a very good man,and obeyed the commandment. By his testimony, which is not disputed by Jesus, “all these things have I observed from my youth.”
As we consider this testimony, we are wise to be observant concerning the circumstances and events surrounding it, the context of the scripture. The wealthy young man is concerned about his eternal life. He wants to live forever. There is certainly an air of self-interest in his exchange with Christ. This is Meeism in worship and Meeism in Christian liberty wrapped into one package. Meeism in worship because the young man claims to want to do what God wants, but for his benefit. Meeism in Christian liberty because he wants to do what he wants, but still find a way to shuffle both desires into the same deck. Jesus cuts to the quick in His response.
Jesus asks How far are you willing to go? You obey laws, you work hard, you acquire wealth, you show humility and seem even to try to esteem another better than yourself, but this wealthy individual seems to miss what faith really means.
Serving God, giving one’s life to Christ, means personal, complete, wholehearted sacrifice. Sacrifice on all levels is what is being displayed in the scriptures. We are encouraged not to give all up, but to be willing to give everything. In Mark 10:22 he went away saddened because he was not willing to sacrifice everything, he was not willing to do what Jesus would do, he was not willing to emulate the Savior, he was not willing to be like Christ.
Everyone committing to Christ must ask this question of themselves and answer honestly. This is where walking by faith and not by sight becomes operative. (2 Cor 5:7) Jesus will challenge every believer. God will put the believer through tests to strengthen us and accomplish His will. (1 Thes 3:3; Heb 11:17-19, et. al.)
If we are not willing to lay it all on the line for Christ, how can we with a clear conscience accept His atonement for us where He forfeited everything from His life in Heaven to His life on earth. He forfeited rights to the universe to walk among mankind’s most meager. He forfeited perfect comfort to feel cold, heat, scrapes, cuts and freezing winter nights. How far will you go Christian? Jesus will help you get there just ask Him.