The price to purchase our salvation was high, costing Jesus dearly, yet He kept His eye on the goal (Heb 12:2). Can we hold anything back from Him? A high personal price is required to attain something of value, be it a place of deep intimacy with the Lord, a godly ministry, musical ability or sound character. We will pay in time, money or effort for what we value (Mt 13:44-46).
David said, "Can I offer to God what costs me nothing?" (2 Sam 24:24). A sacrifice is something that costs the giver. The widow who gave a meagre offering to God gave out of what she had to live on while in contrast the rich, who although they gave liberally this was from their surplus (Mk 12:42-44).
No pain, no gain – know pain, know gain
and not be able to complete it. Although the gift of eternal life is free to those who ask, the asking requires a transfer of ownership (Lk 9:23; Jn 3:16; 1 Cor 6:19,20, 7:23). This "Counting the cost” means recognizing and agreeing to some terms of the new master first (Rom 6:16-22). We are not at liberty to follow Christ how we please, understanding it is impossible to obey two different masters or go two diferent routes at the same time (Mt 6:24, 7:13,14). He requires our devotion and obedience above our love of family and even our own life, stating "All men will hate you because of me...Any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple" (Mt 10:22; Lk 14:26-33). His Kingdom and the plight of others is to take priority over wants while the passions of our flesh are to be put to death (Mk 12:30,31; Lk 9:23; Gal 5:24). We can't continue to belong to the world (1 Jn 2:15-17). There is a cost to each option, in obeying Him or living with regret because of disobedience. Know what you want and be prepared to persevere and consistently pay the price.
Rather than being deterred by the cost of following Christ, which is described as "many hardships that we must go through" keep your mind focused on what the prize is – "to enter the kingdom of God” (Act 14:22).
Unwise choices in life can prove disastrous – "A person being seduced by an adulteress is like a deer stepping into a noose with an arrow piercing its liver, like a bird darting into a snare, little knowing it will cost him his life" (Prov 7:23).
See also: goals, persevere, perspective, price, reward, sacrifice, self-discipline.