I read today a phrase that made me stop short.
“He (God) calls us to Himself – to the complete surrender of all that we are and all that we have and all that we desire to Him.”
All that we ARE and HAVE and DESIRE.
God demands it all.
This is a very different presentation of the gospel than that which passes for contemporary Christian gospel proclamation. Such presentations tend to be of the type;
“Jesus came to make you a bigger and better you!”
“Jesus came to help you fulfil your dreams and your destiny!”
Put another way, “The gospel is all about you!”
The traditional, authentic, timeless Christian message is not this at all.
It is not centred on us; it is centred on God.
Placing God at the centre, giving Him the right to control who we are, dispose of what we have and orient what we desire, is only to recognise the reality of things.
We do not belong to ourselves, nothing we are or have is our own, and everything tat we have and are comes to us from God – every breath, every beat of our heart.
Giving it all back to God only expresses the reality of the state of affairs.
Everything is already His.
We belong to God.
Embracing this truth is the first step in Christian discipleship.
The Christian faith is the message that God wants his property back. Not because of any voracious cupidity, but because He loves us. He knows that only He can care for us, love us, nurture and nourish us, guide and direct us so that our lives take their place in His designs and come to count for not only for time but also eternity.
Therefore, any area of our lives where God is not in control is maladjusted, deviant, wrong-headed, dysfunctional, and will be ultimately unfruitful.
God wants our best. Only He knows what that is. Only He knows how best to achieve it.
God also knows, better than we can even imagine, that we are created, not for time, but for eternity.
This brief human existence is merely the rehearsal for a glorious reality; a reality that will far surpass our current capacity to comprehend.
Christian discipleship is therefore about allowing God to make choices for us, to give us direction and to set the priorities that will lead to our transformation.
We know that we will not understand much of this beforehand. We cannot, we are creatures not the Creator. We are fixed in time, uncomprehending of eternity. Thus humility and acceptance are vital attitudes.
We also know that discipleship is bound to be uncomfortable, because transformation does not happen in the comfort zone. It only happens in extremis, when we are pushed to our limits, forced to go farther than we have ever been before.
We therefore understand and accept that discipleship will be costly. God will demand that we make sacrifices, perhaps even some sacrifices He doesn’t ask others to make, because God’s program for each of us is personalised, specific. He knows what we need in order to give up in order to become what He wants us to be.
What we do know, is that every sacrifice, every instance when we put God first, will never go unrewarded, will never be insignificant, will never be worthless.
A failure to embrace this God-first discipleship, any refusal, a saying “No” to God, is the expression of a disbelief that God either knows what’s best for us (a disbelief in His omniscience), or a doubt that He wants what’s best for us (a disbelief in His goodness).
Both of these are blasphemy.
A denial of the God of the Bible.
A refusal to accept that God has definitively and forever proved the reality of His love for us on the cross.
In the excess of the 80s, some people embraced the philosophy that greed is good.
They believed that trickle-down economics would mean that the few getting super-rich would eventually lead all everyone getting just a little richer.
Sadly the ensuing years have fatally disproved that philosophy.
But in the context of God, His “greed”, His refusal to accept any loss of what belongs to Him, is not only good, but our only hope.
Separated from Him we are lost and hopeless, condemned to empty, meaningless lives.
Praise God that He is “greedy”, that He was willing to go to ultimate lengths of unimaginable suffering in order to regain what is His own.
We fall on our faces to worship the “greedy”, Christmas, Easter God.