what economics and opportunity costs taught me about Jesus

I’m in my second semester of economics at FSU. Micro and Macro have been two of my favorite courses so far. One of the biggest concepts hammered into my head is the term ‘opportunity cost.’

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

My professor makes it a point to always make sure the definition is clear. “The opportunity cost is the value of the next best alternative you give up when you make a decision to do something.” The golden rule of economics is just that: there’s no such thing as a free lunch. There is always an oppoturinty cost, and there is always something you have to give up. You make your decision when you weigh how great the opportunity cost is. Essentially, you ask yourself, “What am I willing to give up, and what do I have to give up, to do this?” You cannot simply evaluate a choice based on what you’re going to gain. You have to look at what you’re going to lose.

Today my brain ran to an analogy. Funny how sometimes you connect little dots and all of the suddenly there’s an image and you don’t know how you haven’t seen it before.

Deciding to follow Jesus is just that, it is a decision. It requires an act of your will. It’s a daily decision. I believe you make it once. I believe He makes you His forever. But I believe that there are smaller choices that we face every day: will I follow Him, or will I follow the world?

If I follow Him, there’s a pretty big opportunity cost. There are a lot of things I have to say no to, myself being one of them. That opportunity cost involves turning away from good things to let Him show me the best. I have to give up living only for pleasure. I have to give up what people might think of me. I have to give up fitting in with the rest of our culture. I have to give up personal gain and advantage. I’m called to give up comfort and ease and safety. I might have to give up relationships. I might have to give up career opportunities that don’t bring Him glory. I have to give up part of “my” day. I have to give up myself and my “right” to my life. That’s a big opportunity cost.

Then I started thinking about what it would mean to follow the world. I might gain popularity, applause, approval, wealth, comfort, ease, temporary happiness, boys, more friends, and an easier lifestyle. But the blindfold fell from my eyes when I realized what the opportunity cost would actually be. I would give up the fullness of the presence of the LIVING GOD. I would trade my joy for a temporary satisfaction. I would give up peace, strength, purpose, and passion. I would exchange the power of the King of the World for power over people and their opinions of me. I might gain attention from boys but I would lose the gaze of the Creator of my Soul. I might climb the ladder of success but my heart would sink under the weight of it’s guilt and paralyzing shame. I might build the largest house ever built by man and yet it would never be filled with the genuine love of God. I might experience the “freedom” of believing it all means nothing but at the end of the day I would lose any spark in my soul without knowing that I have a purpose.

I am not prepared to give all of that up. What Jesus Christ gives me cannot compare to anything this world could ever promise. He is the only One who can satisfy my soul.

Weigh your own opportunity cost. I’ve never been so thankful for my salvation. Trust me, following Christ is an “economical” decision.

control

con·trol
kənˈtrōl/Submit
noun 1.the power to influence or direct people’s behavior or the course of events.

verb
1.determine the behavior or supervise the running of.

Raise your hand if you’d prefer to supervise the running of your life?

For so long my knuckles were white wrapped around anything they could find. Anything I could find that would give me some sense of control. Control over where my life was headed or what opinions were formed of me in the back of someone’s head.

Where did we ever buy the lie that life is best when it’s left in our hands, when we can control it? When it’s tame and small and within our grasp? We like life our size. God laughs and says, “why? life is meant to be God-sized.”

Why have we settled for mediocre dreams that can be controlled and let ourselves believe that it is foolish and unrealistic to do something with our lives that might not be covered under an insurance policy? Something that might involve a risk. Something that might involve a rejection.

In our minds what is held in our hands is safe. We have to realize that the only full life is one that isn’t held by ourselves. The only full life and dream and heart is one that is in His hands, and it is anything but safe. That means things are way out of our control. That means life is so much crazier than what we can come up with. That means that a lot of our stereotypes and expectations have to be shattered.

Take one thing from this: the most dangerous place your life and dreams could be is in your own hands.

His life for us is so much bigger than the lives we have planned for ourselves. Fuller, deeper, more abundant, and riskier. It’s frightening and peaceful and chaotic and confusing and beautiful.

We’ve settled for less in thinking we have to live contained and controlled. We’ve cheated ourselves by holding on to what should be in His hands. And until it’s all back where it belongs, we’ll keep running in circles.

No amount of control is ever going to fill a heart that keeps wanting more. Because control and safety and certainty is not the answer. The answer is you do not know, and that’s the point. The answer is that the very essence of life’s beauty is its mystery. The answer is, that it is way out of your control.

And that is the best possible situation you could be in. Completely surrendered. Completely “not” in control. Completely given over to the God of all the Universe who is writing a story for you that is anything but ordinary and contained.

That doesn’t mean that you won’t do ordinary things. It just means He has called you to do that ordinary, mundane, scheduled stuff in an extraordinary way. It means that you will never find His unexplainable joy in safety and in sameness. He will break your walls down. He will ruin your version of comfort. He will set you on fire with a longing to be anywhere but in the driver’s seat. He is going to use you, I know it. But you have to realize that the greatest gift He will ever give you, is to make you realize that you control nothing. Sometimes that’s painful. Sometimes it hurts way harder than you think it should. But it is always worth it.

No, you are not in control. And for the record, that is the best place to be.

passion 2017.

 

Passion was incredible. I’ve never experienced anything like it. There’s a lot that I don’t want to forget from those few days. & so I’m writing them here so I can always go back and  read them over and over. I don’t want to come “down from the mountain” and live unchanged.

Our hearts get puffed up when we simply learn more stuff. Words can enter our heads and never sink into our hearts. I want the passion behind this movement- behind the words spoken and the praises proclaimed-to saturate my life. Hearing a powerful message is one thing. Living it is another. The disjunct between truth and the tendency to live by feelings is life’s great battle. One we will fight, and one we will win, in Him. So some reminders wouldn’t hurt.

passion17

C h r i s t i n e   C a i n e

We don’t need more gifts or talent, we need endurance. God isn’t going to pull us out of uncomfortable circumstances. No, endurance stays. We need to stay. Be present. Push through whatever we face. We need to endure and we can because of Christ.

You have to lay aside what is holding you back. The weights and sins that are keeping you from the presence of Christ. Lay them down & run to Him. Stop competing and start being faithful to God right where He has you. He isn’t looking at your success compared to someone else, He is looking for faithfulness.

Don’t believe the lie that what you do today doesn’t matter. Where you set your heart today-during these years-will determine the course of the rest of your life. Yes it will look different and no you may not win man’s approval. Your heart is your compass right now. Set it straight to Christ. Look up, it’s all about Jesus.

J o h n    P i p e r

The essence of evil is to lose a taste for God and to prefer anything more than God. Eve delighted more in what the fruit could do for her than what God could do for her. You have to get beyond the commandments to the reality, that the ultimate essence of evil is when you taste the glory of God and you want to trade it.

Until you see and hate evil, you will perpetually dumb down the majesty of God. The greatness of God is magnified when you are satisfied in Him. Guard your heart, and fight the battle. The battle for satisfaction in your God.

passion3.JPG

F r a n c i s   C h a n

One of the most destructive things we can do is to rely on our own thoughts. We need to stop believing everything we think and valuing our own thoughts more than God’s. Get outside your own head.

We can’t believe everything we feel either. Pray for the Spirit of Revelation. Pray for His thoughts. Get alone with God and empty out your own thoughts and feelings. Exchange them for His. In short, tell yourself to shut up.

L o u i   G i g l i o

Jesus did not come so that we could get some of Him, He came so we could have all. The cross is devastatingly beautiful because it is the only place where the dead come to life. It cancels our guilt and shame.

Never again walk unworthy in this world. The story of the victim ended at the cross, and the story of the victor began in the empty tomb.

L e v i   L u s k o

It takes endurance to spread the fragrance of Christ. To make fragrance, you have to be crushed. Courage is contagious. Fear is faith in the enemy. Confidence inspires confidence.

Jeremiah was a man destined for impact. He didn’t just save you from hell, He saved you to shake the gates of hell. Ministry starts at home. Where you are right now. How will you be faithful somewhere else if you cannot be faithful with what you have been given?

The only way to get to your destiny is through difficulty and discouragement. You need to be challenged and reminded of the calling on your life. We must train for the trial that will come.

It is an honor to be trusted with pain. God puts to use what He puts you through. Would you be willing to be broken for Him to bring His purpose to the world? Jesus always breaks the bread before He multiplies it. We have to lean in to the breaking.

Quit relying on willpower, you have God’s power.