Nothing can be accomplished in life without paying a price. From the coffee we drink in the morning, to the vehicles we drive to work, to the homes we return to afterward, to the beds we lay down in at night, everything has a price that must be paid. Whether purchased outright or paid over time, everything we use and enjoy has a price.
When considering our dreams for the future, we must count the cost. Jesus said “But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it?” (Luke 14::28) if we do not have the resources to acquire what we desire, we must evaluate what changes we need to make in order to have enough to achieve our goal. We must count the cost, paying the price today so that we can pay the price tomorrow! A new house or a new car may be just beyond our reach, but if we are willing to pay the price and make changes in our lifestyle, they can be ours.
Another cost we pay in life is the price of integrity. Defined as “adherence to a code of moral or ethical values”, integrity is ours to keep and ours alone to give away. Integrity cannot be taken from us, but we can choose to surrender it. When under pressure to violate our convictions and values, we always have a choice. Will we compromise in order to make other people happy, or will we firmly adhere to the truth? The most powerful minister of the gospel in history was once forced to choose between his integrity and his congregation. He preached a message that almost everyone in his congregation thought was wrong. The choice before him was stark: change his message and way of doing things, or lose everyone.
The price he would have to pay in order to keep his integrity was staggering. It would require everything he had accomplished . Who was he, and what was his choice? Before we answer the question, we must understand that every person must make the choice to keep or abandon integrity. The pressure to compromise biblical values is intense in today’s society. Even in the church at large there is a desire to get along with the world and not hold to absolute truth. Will becoming like the world actually help us to save the world, or will the reverse occur? Will abandoning integrity and adherence to the Bible create a church just as weak and powerless as the world it attempts to embrace?
Who then was this minister who was forced to make the choice between integrity and popularity? His Name is JESUS. The Bible records His challenge to the people. “Many of his disciples said, “This is very hard to understand. How can anyone accept it?” Jesus was aware that his disciples were complaining, so he said to them, “Does this offend you? At this point many of his disciples turned away and deserted him. Then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, “Are you also going to leave?” Simon Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life.” (John 6:60-61,66-68)
PAYING THE PRICE
Jesus paid a price for His integrity. Because He would not compromise, His congregation left Him. He was so committed to the word of God that he turned to the remaining few and said “are you also going to leave?” He was determined to speak the truth even if it cost Him His entire ministry. We should be eternally grateful that He did not compromise. Because He paid the price for His integrity, He was empowered to pay the price for our sins and give us eternal life.
Are we willing to pay the price for our integrity? Are we committed to stand for the truth no matter what the cost?
Will we remain determined to do what Jesus said and did, even in the face of ridicule from the world and the modern church? Peter was right when he said to Jesus “You have the words that give eternal life.” He knew there was nowhere else to go. What Peter knew then, we know today. It’s all about the Word! As Jesus said “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing.
The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63) A price must be paid for everything in life. Will we pay the price for the integrity of the Word of God? Are we willing to pay the price for personal integrity in the face of the challenges of this world and the religion that embraces the world? I pray we will receive strength to do so!