Friday, June 30, 2006

Have You Paid the Cost?

Earlier this week in our Evangelism class, an interesting question was asked. "Is appropriate to say that salvation is not free, though this is what we often hear in church?" I too have heard expressions like, "Salvation is free, but the anointing will cost you something." Well, from my point of view, salvation is not free either.

In response to the question, I posed this scenario to the class: If my husband bought me a $10,000 ring and gave it to me, it would be a gift to me, but it by no means came free. His sacrifice would be required in order to purchase the ring, and he would gift it to me only because of the value I have become to him personally. On the other hand, if my husband went to the Pawn shop and picked up a ring for 35 cents, I would be terribly upset, even though the ring didn't cost me anything personally. Why? Because it has no value, and he has not made a sacrifice symbolic of my worth to him. Hmmm....

God brought this back to my remembrance this morning, when He began dealing with me about a very familiar passage of Scripture...

2 Sam 24:18 Then Gad came to David and said, Go up, rear an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.
2 Sam 24:19 So David went up according to Gad's word, as the Lord commanded.
2 Sam 24:20 Araunah looked and saw the king and his servants coming toward him; and [he] went out and bowed himself before the king with his face to the ground.
2 Sam 24:21 Araunah said, Why has my lord the king come to his servant? And David said, To buy the threshing floor from you, to build there an altar to the Lord, that the plague may be stayed from the people.
2 Sam 24:22 And Araunah said to David, Let my lord the king take and offer up what seems good to him. Behold, here are oxen for burnt sacrifice, and threshing instruments and the yokes of the oxen for wood.
2 Sam 24:23 All this, O king, Araunah gives to the king. And Araunah said to the king, The Lord your God accept you.
2 Sam 24:24 But King David said to Araunah, No, but I will buy it of you for a price. I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God of that which costs me nothing. So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.
2 Sam 24:25 David built there an altar to the Lord and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the Lord heeded the prayers for the land, and Israel's plague was stayed.

Have you paid the cost? Ahhh.... I just keep hearing God ask this question of His people. We live in such a "microwave" world these days. Even within the Body of Christ, everyone wants everything quick and free. God has been dealing with even our local body about WAITING on Him and basting in His presence. Where is the sacrifice in the Body of Christ? Where is the loyalty to the Father, despite the consequences?

God began to show me people with roots growing from their feet. Those who were willing to die and tarry had deep roots. Their arms (branches) grew long. Their leaves were full, and the fruit they bore was abundant. Then, I saw other people who refused to die to self, refused to wait on God and refused to be still. Their roots were shallow and rotten, and they quickly fell over, because they refused to be grounded!

Ahhh... God is not looking for microwave servants. The Body of Christ needs seasoned Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers. We need gifts that have been proven. We need servants with a testimony. Where are those who have been tried by fire? Where are those who lost it all, but stayed loyal to ministry? These are those whom God is calling to RISE UP.

God asked me, "Why do you think the prophets of old had to suffer persecution from the people? Why do you think I allowed them to suffer?" Yes, Ezekiel, Isaiah, Hosea, Jonah and all the other GREAT prophets suffered, and many times at God's command. It was to build character. It was to allow them access to what God saw and fealt. YES, they had to PAY something for the power and authority they walked in. They were gifted, but a sacrifice was still required in order to perfect the gifts.

Saints of God, let's not be weak in this season. Let's stop looking to God to fix everything for nothing. We can't expect to have huge, impactful churches and ministries when we haven't paid the price: sweat and tears, fervent prayer, fasting and obedience. How can we expect diamonds from God when we only give Him a life worth 2 cents? Ohhh!

What are you willing to pay? God spoke this before, and I hear it again. "It will cost your life."

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