One of our brothers who finished well, the apostle Paul, said that he "faced death daily." (1 Cor. 15:31) This difficult journey is the "narrow road," and "few" will take it. (see Math. 7:14) Some responses to God's call may be, "Yes, Lord, I will follow you, but ..." (see Luke 9:61) Yet for the decision of true discipleship, there are no caveats. There is no turning back. There is no "Plan B!" We men are being called to make a daily and eternal commitment. This covenant is only between you and God. This is an individual decision - no one else can make it for you and no one else can carry the burdens that you will be asked to bear.
"For many are called, but few are chosen." (Matt. 22:14) That is, according to Oswald Chambers, "few" will prove they are the chosen ones! (Jan. 14) "The chosen ones are those who have come into a relationship with God through Jesus Christ and have had their spiritual condition changed and their ears opened. Then they hear "the voice of the Lord" continually asking, . . . who will go for Us?" (Oswald, Jan. 14) The "no matter the cost" disciples are the ones who consider the call of God and with perfect freedom and with a clear understanding that this road will be very difficult - overwhelming at times - yet they choose to answer by saying, Yes -’Here am I! Send me.’ (Isaiah 6:8)
God is in the process of raising up an army - those people pledging their allegiance to Him - "no matter the cost." There is no commitment that takes greater courage. For what will our God ask of us? What will it take to defeat sin's dominance of our lives, to become holy, and to fulfill our God-given purpose? It takes courage to pray, for instance, "Dear God help me to love my wife and children well - no matter the cost." "Help me to get out of my sexual, alcohol, or drug addiction, no matter the cost." "Help me to trust you with this broken relationship - no matter the cost." "Help me to trust you and not my finances - no matter the cost." "Help me to trust you in the midst of my physical or emotional handicap and pain - no matter the cost." "Help me to trust and follow you - no matter my circumstances." "Dear God, help me to be more like Christ - no matter the cost." The list goes on .... What type of "thorn in the flesh" might God ask us to endure so that, like Paul, He can be strong and victorious in our weakness? Undoubtedly, our King will ask more from us than we think is humanly possible - because our mission will not be "humanly" possible. To survive, we will have to give up control and allow God to have victory through us.
When we are experiencing the cost of sanctification, of course we will pray to God and "beg" Him to remove our thorns. But we may hear in response, "My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness." (2 Cor. 12:8-9) God will not ask us to carry any more of a burden than is necessary for us to live out the purpose for which we were created. And there is no need to fear because our King promises us that He will give us His "gracious favor" when needed. He also promises that we will never be alone: "And be sure of this, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Matt. 28:20) With such power by our side, what enemy can stop this army? For "all the powers of hell will not conquer it. And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven." (Matt. 16:18-19) We must trust God that He really does have our best interests at heart - that He is good! The scars that we receive in these battles will not be in vain, and the rewards of receiving the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven will be eternal.