Count the Cost—But Use the Right Accountant

It’s a great truth that salvation is freely offered to us, but it will still cost us. I know that sounds contradictory, but Jesus told us to count the cost.

“Or what king, going to war against another king, will not first sit down and decide if he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand? If not, while the other is still far off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. In the same way, therefore, every one of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:31-33).

My experience? What I gain is far greater than what I lose. Following Jesus cost me the possession of my pride, and the load of sins I was holding on to. It cost me the throne of my life. I gladly gave all that up to gain forgiveness, a fresh start, eternal life, and a relationship with God Himself.

But don’t take my word for it. Count the cost yourself.

Counting is not something I am normally good at it. When it comes to my income, finances, and taxes, I look to an accountant to help me cost those costs. I trust my accountant completely—so completely in fact, I married her.

If you’re looking for someone to help you count the cost of following Jesus, make sure you’re listening to the right accountant.

Nathan Bedford Forrest

During the Civil War, Lieutenant General Nathan Bedford Forrest was marching toward Athens, Alabama where he would take on the troops under Union commander Colonel Wallace Campbell. But before he attacked, Forrest invited Campbell to his Confederate camp just so Campbell could see what he was up against. In his own way, Forrest wanted Campbell to count the cost.

On September 24, 1864, Campbell took Forrest up on this invitation. As he talked with the confederate leader, he had the opportunity to see the Confederate troops. He took into account the vast number of soldiers and their artillery. He took it all in, went back to his own fort, and surrendered without a fight. He knew he could not stand against such overwhelming numbers.

Campbell had been duped. Forrest was the one with the smaller army, and he knew he could not win in a battle against Campbell’s larger Union forces. With the invitation for the Union commander to see his army, Forrest also gave directions to his own troops. Forrest’s plan was that, once the Union commander had walked past a unit of men, those same man were to quietly pack up and move to the end of the line—to be counted again. What Campbell thought was a large army was actually quite small. Based on the lie he had been presented, Campbell needlessly surrendered.

Satan wants you to count the cost too. and he wants to serve as your accountant.

  • Satan will try to convince you that he is greater that you are.
  • Satan will try to convince you that your sin is too great—or your habit is too entrenched—and you will remain defeated.
  • Satan will attempt to inflate the “benefits” of sin, glossing over the pain and the emptiness. He downplays the brevity of any pleasure derived from sin.

Don’t listen to him. Satan is the father of lies.

  • Satan is not greater. “You are from God, little children, and you have conquered them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
  • Your sins are not too great to be forgiven. “He has not dealt with us as our sins deserve or repaid us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his faithful love toward those who fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us” (Ps. 103:10-12).
  • There are no benefits to sin. “There is a way that seems right to a person, but its end is the way to death” (Prov. 14:12).

You do need to count the cost of following Christ but listen to the right voices. And when you do, I pray you find the incredible riches God has for you when you give up everything else to follow Him.

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