In Personal Growth

Whose Price Will You Choose?

As followers and disciples of Jesus, we each have a price on our heads – one from God and one from the devil (Satan). The question and choice is: whose price will you agree to, and will we live up to that price? I will share a few thoughts on this subject in this brief essay or article to encourage and exhort you and to increase and strengthen your faith.

First of all, the Lord Jesus Christ has paid the ultimate price for each of us by His death on the cross for our sins, and by having His body broken and His innocent blood shed on our behalf as well as the sins of the whole world. Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11, NIV). Paul the Apostle said, “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body” (1 Cor. 6:19-20). He further states, “God paid a high price for you, so don’t be enslaved by the world” (1 Cor. 7:23).

Paul the Apostle then adds, “Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!” (Phil. 3:8-11).

Satan comes to “steal, kill and destroy,” and is the “Father of lies” (John 8:44, John 10:10). His price is that we compromise, sell out, stagnate, backslide, fall into deception, fall short of the glory of God, remain spiritual infants, deny the existence of hell (or heaven), and/or fall down and worship him, as he tempted Jesus in the wilderness as recorded in Matthew 4:1-11, Mark 1:12-13, and Luke 4:1-13. The contract Satan has for us is preferably a one-way ticket to hell and eternal damnation, or at best, a life of mediocrity and obscurity, filled with confusion, fear and doubt.

The price that Jesus requires is far different. Jesus came that we may “have life, and have it abundantly” [in all fullness, or to the full] (John 10:10). He came to set the captives free, release the prisoners, bind up the brokenhearted, heal the lame, and open the eyes of the blind, and preach good news to the poor (Isa. 61:1-3). Jesus also taught: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it” (Luke 9:23-24; Matt. 16:24-25; Mark 8:34-35).

A Seeming Contradiction

This is one of the secrets and mysteries of God and a seeming contradiction. It is in losing our lives in the service of God and for the benefit of others that we find life and power and multiplication (fruitfulness) in the Kingdom. “If you grasp and cling to life on your terms, you’ll lose it, but if you let that life go, you’ll get life on God’s terms” (Luke 17:33, MSG). “Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it” (Luke 17:33, NIV). “I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains [just one grain; it never becomes more but lives] by itself alone. But if it dies, it produces many others and yields a rich harvest” (John 12:24, AMP). “Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds” (John 12:24, NIV).

Paul the Apostle said, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20). Col. 3:3-4 AMP says, “For [as far as this world is concerned] you have died, and your [new, real] life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, Who is our life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in [the splendor of His] glory.”

Scripture also says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Heb. 12:1-3, NIV). “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:6-8, KJV). John the Apostle said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13, KJV). “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (1 John 3:16, KJV).

Sons of God—Our Identity in Christ

Because we are sons of God, and joint heirs with Jesus, and are called to exercise dominion in the earth, to rule and reign with Christ, to make disciples of all nations, to be fruitful and multiply, to fill the earth and subdue it, to prosper and be in health, to exercise righteousness and justice, to abound and increase in every good work, to bind and loose, to decree and declare and establish, to possess and occupy, to be wise and faithful stewards, and to walk in authority on the earth, we are therefore a threat to the evil one and the enemy of our souls, and he has placed or put a bounty (price) on our heads as well, to try and stop us or neutralize our effectiveness and our divine (heavenly) calling, destiny and assignments. The only way Satan can do that is if he can get us to agree with him, so he attacks our thoughts and minds (2 Cor. 10:3-5, Rom. 12:1-2), and tries to inject doubt and confusion and unbelief, as he did with Eve: “Did God really say?” (Gen. 3:1). Our enemy also tries to give us a false, counterfeit identity.

Even though the Devil has no legal authority over us, because we are blood-bought citizens of the kingdom of God and have sworn our allegiance to Christ Jesus and His kingdom, and are joint heirs with Him, and are adopted as children into the family of God, the kingdom of darkness hopes to win us back or get us to compromise or sell out or fall short of our purpose, calling and destiny. Satan’s aim and goal is to disqualify us through any means at his disposal. He doesn’t fight fair.

In contrast, God calls us, redeems us and qualifies us in and through Christ. Jesus said, when speaking to the Jewish religious leaders of his day, “You are of your father, the devil, and it is your will to practice the lusts and gratify the desires [which are characteristic] of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a falsehood, he speaks what is natural to him, for he is a liar [himself] and the father of lies and of all that is false” (John 8:44, AMP).

Peter the Apostle said, “Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour” (1 Pet. 5:8, AMP). The NIV translation says, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Pet. 5:8).

Romans 6:23 (NIV) says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Similarly, Prov. 10:16 says, “The wages of the righteous is life, but the earnings of the wicked are sin and death.” James the Apostle said, “When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death” (James 1:13-15, NIV).

Conclusion

US President John F. Kennedy said in his inaugural address Jan. 20, 1961, “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”

How much more should we – as sons of God, citizens of heaven, soldiers in the army of God, and the body and bride of Christ – be vigilant, diligent, and sober-minded to hold fast to our confession of faith, repentance and forgiveness of sin, and salvation unto eternal life which has been purchased at a high price by Jesus—the cost of his own life and broken body and shed blood—to maintain our liberty in Christ under the law of grace through faith, and to resist all claims and counteroffers from the evil one and the enemy of our souls.

About the Author: Bruce Cook, Ph.D., is an ordained minister and a commissioned apostle and prophet and has significant experience in business consulting, fundraising, private equity investments, business development, marketing, corporate communications, branding, media relations, advertising, and higher education and is considered a leading authority on private equity, fundraising, publishing, corporate finance, marketplace ministry and philanthropy. He is a frequent speaker for conferences, seminars and workshops, resides in the Seattle, Washington area, and is married with two grown sons and two granddaughters. He is the Chairman & CEO of VentureAdvisers.com Inc., Kingdom House Publishing, and Kingdom Congressional International Alliance (KCIA). In addition, he is a director or trustee of WorkLife, The Glory House Ministries, Indigenous People’s Foundation, Family Church of Gig Harbor, and Kingdom Economic Yearly Summit (KEYS). In 2015 he received the Distinguished Leadership Award from I Change Nations and was designated an Honorary Ambassador by Golden Rule International.

Earlier in his career Cook was Research Coordinator for the University of Texas Investment Management Company (UTIMCO), where he was a member of the Private Markets team responsible for alternative asset investments totaling over $500 million per year, and in aggregate, several billion dollars. Prior to that he was Assistant Manager of the largest bank in Arkansas, Worthen Bank, now owned by Bank of America, responsible for $10M daily in transactions. Dr. Cook is an author, ordained minister, and contemporary Christian songwriter and producer. His CD’s include Songs in the Night (2003), Daddy’s in the House (2004) and Wealth of the Kingdom (co-producer, 2008); Seven Mountain Symphony: Transforming the 7 Mountains of Culture was a two-disc set released in 2009 (co-producer). He is the author of Partnering with the Prophetic (2011, 2014) and also completed a five-volume apostolic anthology titled Aligning with the Apostolic: An Anthology of Apostleship (2013), for which he served as General Editor and wrote Volume One. Several other books are currently in process dealing with finance, economics, and business.

To contact him: brucecook77@gmail.com or office@kcialliance.org; www.kcialliance.org

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