GOD WANTS IT ALL. It’s a reoccurring theme in my life. It is a struggle to keep the Lord as my first love. Not because I don’t love Him, but because I let in competing idols. As I’ve shared before, the nature of idolatry is that you can love the Lord and other things at the same time. These compete for our affections and time. What kinds of things? The competing idols don’t look like those of the ancient world, but they are the same nonetheless.
The world is good at attracting humans. Idols of success, fame, to be known, money, family, the cares of this world, the pursuit of riches and dreams, the lusts and desires of the flesh; all these things will choke out the Word in our lives. Why? Because our heart is divided and we leave our first love. It is a daily challenge to keep Him as our heart’s desire. Just ask the church in Ephesus. They did many great and wonderful works, but something was missing. Something else in their hearts took over. The letter to the church in Ephesus displays to us that we can do good works for the Lord, have good doctrine, yet not love Him with all our heart. (Revelation 2:1-7) Jesus quotes a verse from Deuteronomy,
“Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment.” Mark 12:29-30
When you read this, what do you hear? I hear Him saying, “ALL my heart, not some. ALL my soul, not a little. ALL my mind, not half. ALL my strength, not three-quarters.” I read something from Oswald Chambers last week that struck me, and I’m paraphrasing here, “God has taken care of my sin, but it’s up to me to surrender my individuality.” Isn’t that the hard part? We want to keep things for ourselves- our plans and our desires. We audaciously tell God, “You will bless MY plans!” and because He is merciful, He will let you do what you want to do. Don’t think that He is pleased because He allows you to have your own way. You may do well for a time, but the end of your path is destruction. His blessings only come with your complete surrender of the “ALL”.
“And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes which I command you today for your good?” Deuteronomy 10:12-13
LOVE requires sacrifice. You cannot love people without sacrifice, otherwise it is a fleshly, humanistic kind of love. The love of God is to love those who treat you poorly. This kind of love requires you to give of yourself. Love requires you to lay it all on the altar. If you’re not willing to give up all, then you will end up with a divided heart. The parable of the rich man is not for everyone to give up their money in order to follow Jesus. The teaching is that in order to follow Jesus, we must give up everything and anything that owns our heart. For the rich man, it was his riches. What is it for you? People say WWJD? Well, He gave ALL.
The call of the cross isn’t to find yourself; it’s to lose your life and be found IN JESUS. He may not require Isaac, but your Isaac has to be put on the altar. Beware that your not just sacrificing to God things you don’t want or need, like you’re doing Him a favor by bringing Him your Goodwill trash. What part of the ALL have you not surrendered? Put it on the altar today!
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