Because of horrible evangelism, religious lies, and itching ears, a majority of evangelicals have been led to believe that becoming a Christian is as easy as praying a simple prayer and requires very little cost or no cost at all. However, the Lord Jesus Christ has declared very clearly in the Bible that it will indeed cost you—it will cost you everything.
You will have to turn away from all your sins
Proverbs 28:13 He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.
Being a Christian will cost you your sins; you cannot be a Christian if you're unwilling to forsake them (Acts 2:38; 3:19; Psalm 7:12). This is called repentance, and Jesus declared that unless you repent, you will perish in hell (Mark 1:15; Luke 13:3). We are called by God to repent of our sins and turn to Him because He has fixed a day on which He will judge the world (Acts 17:30-31). You don't have to clean up your life before you come to Christ; no, my dear friend, come to Him now as you are. You just have to make up your mind about giving up your sins. You must stop, turn around from following after sinful lusts, and begin following after Christ, calling upon Him to help and He will remove sin from your life as you follow His lead and obey His word.
You will have to forsake your desires and affections
2 Corinthians 5:15 He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.
Being a Christian will cost you all desires and affections which oppose the will and word of God. You will have to continually be on guard to rid your life of all the things that God hates and declares to be wicked. If you are unwilling to give up these unrighteous desires, you cannot be a Christian. God commands His people to hate evil and love good (Psalm 97:10; Amos 5:15); to abstain from every form or appearance of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22); to flee from immorality, lust, idolatry, and greed (1 Corinthians 6:18; 10:14; 1 Timothy 6:10). We are commanded to pursue righteousness, justice, and godliness (1 Timothy 6:11; 2 Timothy 2:22). And this means all the things we fill our lives with will be determined by God's word—the movies or television we watch, music we listen to, clothes we wear, and everything else on which we may set our affections (Philippians 1:10; 4:8; Psalm 119:97, 128).
You will have to surrender over your dreams and aspirations
1 Corinthians 10:31 Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
Being a Christian will cost you all dreams and aspirations you may have that do not align with the revealed will of God. If you're unwilling to completely shift the focus of your life away from yourself and your previous aspirations and toward Christ and doing His will, you cannot be a Christian. We are commanded to do absolutely everything—down to something as small as taking a drink of water—with the focus of bringing God glory (1 Corinthians 10:31). We are even called to take every thought captive and make them obedient to the will of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). This means that if, for instance, you are worrying about becoming rich or famous, you are going to have to cast that behind you. Jesus declared that our primary and preeminent focus is to be on His kingdom above all else (Matthew 6:33). We serve the Lord, not vice versa; and He calls His people to carry out His will, not theirs; we pray for His kingdom come, His will be done, not ours (Matthew 6:10). He is Lord over our life, and His disciples must live their lives accordingly.
You will have to give up all your finances and possessions
Luke 14:33 None of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.
Being a Christian will cost you all your finances and possessions. If you're not willing to transfer all ownership of your money and possessions over to Jesus Christ as the rightful Lord over all, you cannot be His disciple. He owns everything in your life—including your life—and as a Christian you must acknowledge and submit to this. You are to use all that you have no longer for yourself but for Him—for His sake, His glory, His kingdom. And the things which cannot be used to these ends must go. The money you have—which itself comes from God—you no longer use to buy foolish things for yourself but for the things of which He approves and in which He is glorified. Christ commands us not to store up treasures on earth, but to store up treasure in heaven—your treasure will reveal your heart (Matthew 6:19-21). If you are all about money or heaping up this world's goods, then your heart is with this world which will pass away. What will it profit you if you gain the whole world but lose your soul (Luke 9:23-25)? If you seek to keep this world's goods, you will lose both them and your soul. You cannot serve both God and wealth (Matthew 6:24).
You will have to leave behind your family and friends
Luke 14:26 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.
If you love your parents, siblings, spouse, children, family, friends, or even your own life more than Christ, you cannot be His disciple. Your love for Christ must be so extreme and preeminent that it makes your love for everyone else, in comparison, look like hatred. Jesus declared that He had not come to bring peace and tolerance amongst one another on the earth; He came, rather, to bring a sword of division, to set a person against the members of his own household for the sake of obedience and loyalty to Him (Matthew 10:34-37). It must be clarified that this does not involve neglecting or abandoning one's family, for one who does this is worse than an unbeliever and has rejected the faith (1 Timothy 5:8). However, what it does mean is that if your family criticizes you in regard to following Christ, or pressures you to go on a route that opposes the will of God, you will have to oppose them for Christ's sake. If you have friends who love to sin and could care less about Christ, you're going to have to leave them behind—but if you are true to the Lord and serious about following Him, they'll end up hating you eventually anyway (1 Corinthians 5:11; 15:33; 2 Corinthians 6:14-18). However, Jesus promises that whoever has left houses or parents or siblings or friends or spouses or children for His name's sake will receive many times as much and will inherit eternal life (Matthew 19:27-29; Luke 18:28-30).
You will have to renounce your reputation and status
Hebrews 13:12-13 Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate. So, let us go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach.
If you are unwilling to count as loss for Christ's sake your reputation and status, and what people think of you, and what you think of yourself, you cannot be a Christian. You must count all these things as rubbish in view of the surpassing value of knowing the Lord Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:7). You must cast off any false notion that you are someone important, someone of worth, one with wisdom and strength, and realize you indeed are one who is broken, lowly, foolish, and weak (1 Corinthians 3:18; 8:2). The message of the cross is foolishness to the world, and in coming to Christ, believing His word, and obeying His commands, you will also be esteemed utterly foolish by them (1 Corinthians 1:18-26; 4:9-13; Galatians 6:14). But you must embrace the reproach of Christ that will come your way. If you hold faithfully to Christ, you will be ridiculed, despised, mocked, and slandered (Luke 6:22-23).
You will have to abandon your comforts and easy living
Luke 13:23-24 And someone said to Him, "Lord, are there just a few who are being saved?" And He said to them, "Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able."
If you are unwilling to take on the demanding lifestyle of a disciple of Christ, you cannot be a Christian. Jesus declared that the vast majority of mankind will end up in hell, and that there are many who desire to enter into eternal life but will not be able to (Matthew 7:13-14; Luke 13:23-24). He exhorted His disciples to strive to enter into the kingdom of God, because only those who violently press into it will enter (Matthew 11:12). The Christian life is not one of luxury or complacency, but one of self-denial and discipline, vigilance, always being on the alert, always taking heed and being careful, always striving, pursuing Christ, fighting the good fight of faith, and laying hold on eternal life (Mark 13:33; Acts 13:40; 1 Corinthians 9:27; 10:12; 1 Peter 5:8; 1 Timothy 6:12). The Bible says we must enter the kingdom of God through many trials and tribulations, and all who desire to live godly in Christ will suffer persecution (Acts 14:22; 2 Timothy 3:12). You will be hated, excluded, insulted, scorned, slandered, and abused on account of Christ—you may even be killed—but be of good cheer, for these things you are blessed, and your reward will be great in heaven (Luke 6:22-23; John 15:19; 1 John 3:13).
This article was revised and republished on 08/28/2020. It was originally published on 07/30/2010.