Matthew 10:38-39 “And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.”

Matthew 16:24-26 “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”

Matthew 10:32-33 “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.”

As outlined in previous posts, God is looking for those that He can use to repair the breech, build up the old waste places, raise up stable foundations, and restore the paths of protection and provision. Such things, however, won’t happen by themselves. They require God’s power and our faithfulness. And in God’s economy, the currency is different than that we have grown accustomed to in our society today.

The following thoughts have been on my mind with respect to deterrence theory in a world where malign actors have been bolder and more brazen in their activities, whether in Eastern Europe or in the Western Pacific. The way we are to best deter malicious activity is to demonstrate our capability and our will to counter that activity, and in doing so, decrease the perceived benefits and amplify the perceived costs and risks in the minds of an opponent. That allows us to control them by molding their decision-making processes and dissuading them from the activity we hope to stop before it happens.

The world uses this same strategy against Christians in trying to shape how we live our lives and how we proclaim our commitment to the Lord. They seek to amplify the perceived costs and risks of a faithful and bold testimony, while marginalizing the perceived benefits of doing so. They hope to control us by molding our decision- making processes and dissuading us from the activity that they hope to stop before it happens.

Yet, in God’s economy, it isn’t about power, or prestige, or profitability. It also isn’t about the safety of blending into our surroundings, indistinguishable from the rest of society. It is about yielding to Him while fully realizing the costs and the risks in doing so. In fact, we embrace the risks and the costs in service to the Lord. As we lose our lives, figuratively or literally for Him, we actually find real life. And it is glorious!

PLEASE PRAY FOR AMERICAN CHRISTIANS TO LIVE FAITHFULLY, REGARDLESS OF A HUMAN CALCULATION OF BENEFITS, COSTS, AND RISKS. The Lord is looking for us to fully, expectantly, faithfully and boldly follow Him, regardless of the risks and the costs; or maybe, because of the risks of the costs. And certainly, because of the grand benefits of doing so.