Luke 14

31 It is a certainty that leaders are called upon to do battle. It appears that this king is about to be attacked, and he must weigh his options and come up with battle plans. Jesus does not condemn leaders for planning or carrying out such plans, but His first point is that a good leader will weigh all his options before entering a battle. He must realize that no matter what he chooses, he will lose something. If he fights (even if he wins), he will lose troops in battle -- people he cares for.
32 If he negotiates, he may lose other things like territory, finances, or freedom. However, if he realizes that he can not win a physical battle, negotiation may be a better alternative. It is sometimes better to lose less important things than to lose the most important ones.

Note that the king is making these decisions long before the battle starts -- at the first sign of a threat. It does no good to wait until the battle is started before one decides to plan. It is also much more difficult to start negotiations in the middle of battle. If the king were indeed losing, the other side would take advantage, because they know the king is already defeated. He is likely to lose all negotiation power once he has been weakened. The terms will be less favorable than if he had negotiated before the battle began. He will not only lose more in the negotiations, but he will also have suffered losses from the battle. This is definitely the worse condition.

33 However, Jesus' main point is not about kings and battles, but it is about our spiritual lives. Each person is like a king over his own life. We are born with the freedom to reign over our own lives however we please. God, however, has a claim to ownership over our lives. At some point, He will confront each one of us. Some people refuse to deal with this. They will deny that God is preparing for battle, or is actively engaged in it. Others put off the decision, and find themselves in the midst of battle before they realize that God is much more powerful than they are. Another group will recognize God's immanent victory and surrender to Him rather than fight Him.

In each scenario, people lose something. The first set are those who remain unbelievers. They will lose everything because they were unprepared for battle. They will be eternally separated from God, His love, and everything good. The second set are those who know that God exists, but would rather live life their way. At some point, they finally realize they can not win the battle and surrender to God (some even on their deathbed). They do get to enjoy the benefits of heaven, but they will not have the reward of God's work through their lives. They will have many needless battle scars and suffer the consequences of some of their disobedient choices. The final set are those who hear about Christ, gather the information they need to make a decision, realize that they must come to God on His terms, and voluntarily surrender to Him. What we Christians lose is sovereignty over our own lives. We can no longer live to fill only our fleshly desires because God calls us to focus on our eternal spiritual needs. However, the benefits of peace with God are beyond calculation. We get to see God work in our lives today. We have the assurance that Christ has cleansed us from sin and our lives matter. We have joy in knowing that we have escaped the worse punishment and have the hope for heaven that pulls us through the hard times on earth.

Jesus is the crux of the spiritual risk assessment. Is one willing to give up the "freedom" he has now to become the obedient person God designed him to be? Does one wish to engage God in battle? Does one possibly believe that they can defeat God? Is one willing to accept Christ as the only terms of peace with God? These are all questions that each person must answer in their immanent or present spiritual battle with God. Jesus encourages us to be rational people. Yes, this thought process involves faith, but we are given enough evidence to recognize that the spiritual battle the world is involved in is real.