Contending for the faith | Making Disciples | Equipping the Saints for Ministry

by Rayola Kelley


Q:  Can you please explain what you mean when you say certain Christians who either are in leadership or who want to be leaders in the Church don’t “have the goods” or “haven’t paid the price?” If Jesus paid the price for our souls, what price do Christians have to pay to be leaders? 

A:   It is true that Jesus paid the price for our salvation, but we still must possess the life of Jesus. The idea of paying the price, comes from Jesus’ statement, who counted the cost of redemption, exhorts each of us to count the cost in relationship to discipleship before venturing into the journey (Luke 14:26-33). The real cost of discipleship requires us to put a value on our life in Him in order to possess it. We see this in the example of possessing the Pearl of Great Price (Jesus) in Matthew 13:45-46.

      We also see this same example in the life of the Apostle Paul. He was always pressing towards his high calling in Christ Jesus in order to apprehend Him and be apprehended by Him. Therefore, when we speak of not having the “goods” it simply means that the person has not yet discovered the deeper life with Jesus. Perhaps he or she has just begun serving the Lord or the person could have some baggage from the past that will beset him or her in spiritual growth. As you watch how the individual handles challenging situations, it can become clear that he or she lacks the experience that would have seasoned him or her with a greater likeness to Jesus in his or her attitude and conduct.

      To possess a greater measure of Christ will cost us those things associated with our worldly identity and inheritance. The Apostle Paul counted the things of the world as being dung (Philippians 3:1-14). In his mind he was willing to pay it all to gain a greater knowledge of Jesus. He never accepted a comfortable level of familiarity with Jesus; rather, he wanted to always advance in his knowledge and relationship with the eternal Christ. He never wanted to accept the status quo of the religious world, he wanted to breathe and walk out the life that was made available to him.

      Paul’s walk took him into some rough spiritual terrain. He knew the depth of the canyons of despair, the long length of the challenging valleys of suffering and uncertainty, the temporary ecstasy of mountain peaks, and the destructive currents of rushing rivers. Through his journey, the apostle became an experienced hiker in the canyons, an endurance runner in the valleys, a mountain climber in the mountainous terrain, and knew the source that would always help him in the unstable currents of life.

      What will each of us gain by paying the price? I already made mention of it. We will come out knowing God in a more personal, intimate way. Many believers do not realize that it costs to know God. Like every relationship, it takes personal investment to grow in a relationship with Him. We must remember that discovering God is not a picnic. Even Jesus was led into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit to be tested before His ministry officially started (Luke 4:1).   

      The truth is, we must experience the shaking of our spiritual lives before we will let go of our romantic notions about God. We must know loss in regard to the present world, before we can value and discover what has been made available to us in Christ. We must have experienced the extremes of heat (purging), cold (death), wind (separation), and rain (cleansing)) in each season of growth, as well as have the inner stuffing (pride) knocked out of us by the challenges of the spiritual wildernesses. This is all necessary to ensure character can be forged in us by the chisel of the Holy Spirit.  

      People who know God have a certain attitude, walk, and manner about them. They may appear unassuming at first, but once you begin to observe or converse with them, you will know that they have been places you have not been. Most likely they will not say a word, but you will know they have knowledge concerning the deep things of God that is not experientially known by most of the Church. Such a person may stir you up to risk taking a similar journey, or he or she might intimidate or even offend you and cause envy and jealousy to raise its ugly head in your soul. However, you will not be able to simply pass their way. These people will cause some type of reaction in you, and you will know there is something that clearly sets them apart, and you might naturally want to follow them. You will know they know, and nothing can touch, shake, rob, or reach the depths of those secret places or experiences they have had with the Lord.