Is It Worth It?
The new iPhone X is now available for pre-order and will be coming out in the beginning of November. The cost to order is 999$. The price for one phone is a thousand dollars; and the pre-ordering for this device are off the charts. In less than an hour of the launch for the iPhone, the wait time for households after the release date is as short as two weeks and as long as five weeks — apparently, the massive chunk of change and the wait have not stopped us from getting this new tech.
This is how we all operate. We make our decisions on this: is it worth it? You can say pleasure-driven, what brings satisfaction, joy-junkies, or whatever clever wording you can think of. The bottom line we have in mind, whether thought out or implied, is this: is it worth it? Ultimately, this is the question we must keep in mind in regards to Christ, the gospel, and eternity. Is Jesus worth it? Is denying myself and killing my sin worth it? Is entrusting myself to the reproach I will bear, the desires and things I must forsake, and following the hard sayings of Jesus, really worth it?
Counting the Cost
In order to buy the new iPhone X, or something else that is very costly to purchase, we all have to count the cost. By that what I mean is this: we have to decide that instead of spending our usual funds this week on ourselves, we must save the money. Instead of stopping buy your favorite store and buying another button up, you should resist and keep that money for the purchase. All of know how to count the cost of something before we buy it. We must think through it, and in doing so, we are deciding to give up certain things for the surpassing, superior, or better worth of what we want to buy. In buying the new iPhone, some people are counting it more valuable to have than eating out more this week, going to the World Series games, saving up for a new car, buying their kids early gifts for Christmas, etc. We all know how to do this, and we all do it without realizing it.
These are the words of Jesus himself in Luke 14:26-28, 33:
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?…So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.”
Following Jesus means forsaking all creature comforts; it means not that we literally ‘hate’ our loved ones, but that our love and devotion to Christ is so strong and supreme that it appears as if we hated them in comparison. Jesus says that those who follow him ‘bear [their] own cross.’ We die to ourselves and sinful desires, we embrace the shame and suffering of following Christ as he did ‘for the joy set before him’ (Hebrews 12:2). Or, as John Calvin said, “Let us therefore, leaving off all other things, aim exclusively at this – that we may be approved by God and may be satisfied to have His approbation alone, as it justly ought to be regarded by us as of more value than all the applauses of the whole world.”
Have you counted the cost, embraced the reproach, absorbed the shame, endured the suffering, and denied yourself, and sought to delight in God?
Christ is Far Better
Of all followers of Christ who truly counted the cost and suffered greatly for the superior worth of knowing Jesus, it was Paul. He writes these glory-surpassing words in his letter to the Philippians:
- 1:21, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
1:23, “I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.“
- 3:8, “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.”
Death is gain when we gain the superior treasure. Departing this world and being with Christ is far better than all of life. If the cost to get Christ requires us to give up everything and count it as loss, the there is surpassing worth found in Christ and in him alone. Paul counted knowing Christ and receiving the Jewish 39 lashes five times, being beaten by rods three times, surviving a stoning, multiple shipwrecks, being adrift at sea, going naked, hungry, and in peril and danger from city to the wilderness, as gain because of the worth of having Jesus far surpasses all pain, pleasure, suffering, and success (2 Corinthians 11).
These truths can shape our daily lives: is sin worth it, or is knowing and enjoying Christ better? Should we seek the praise of man, or the approval of God earned by Jesus for us? Why would we settle for mud pies when a vacation by the beach is offered (C.S. Lewis)? If Jesus is far better, than what do we have to lose by sharing the gospel? When dying is gain, our fear of death, man, and disease is gone — and Christ is magnified in our death.
When you see and enjoy the superior worth of Christ — being united to him and losing creature comforts, the affections of the world, and all of the accolades under heaven — is gain, for it is far better.