Athlete, It is Free, but it Costs
Matthew 16:24,25 (ESV)
Then Jesus told His disciples, “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”
The Nebraska men’s basketball team was ranked in the Top 25 this preseason, which is rare. Lincoln was thrilled. Every home game sold out. In past years people gave tickets away. But it was a tough ticket this year.
That made me think, “Is Christianity a tough ticket or easy ticket?”
In one way, it’s easy. Grace is freely given. We don’t do anything to earn it. All we have to do is receive it. But wait.
Jesus said, “Small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:14). Jesus also said, “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it ” (Matthew 16:24,25).
Jesus makes it sound like a tough ticket.
So, is Christianity a tough or easy ticket?
I heard a quote one time that sums it up: “Salvation is free, but it costs us our lives.”
But it’s important to grasp these two seemingly contradictory points:
1) That we can never pay God back or earn His acceptance or approval
2) That when we become Christians our lives are not our own, the cost to us is great and we lose (thus gain) our lives in the process
God does not weigh us down, break our backs or make us earn salvation. His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matthew 11:30). But God doesn’t say, “You accepted Me, good. You’re done.” There is a cross on our backs that wasn’t there before.
A prayer to consider: God, thanks for loving us first and doing the heavy lifting. Thanks for not breaking our backs, but offering grace. We know that grace is not cheap though. Help us bear the proper weight of our crosses. Amen.