Thursday, December 20, 2012

Surrender ALL

So what can I say?  What can I do? But offer this heart O God, Completely to You -Hillsong

In this nation and in this time we are constantly bombarded with places we have to go and people we have to see and things we have to do.  There is never enough time for the truly important activities in life.  Any person with a job knows that there are never enough hours in the week.  As a Christian I believe this is intensified because our duties go beyond this world.  As Christians our first commandment is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment” (Matthew 22:37 – 48).  This means God should be more than an afterthought; He is our first thought.  How can we make time for God when we have all these other commitments?  Is this really what God is asking us to do?  In God’s commandments there are no exceptions.  Such as love the Lord you God on Sundays only, or love the Lord your God only at home, or love the Lord your God when you feel His presence.  God wants all of us especially in our busyness.  How can we as Christians reconcile our busyness in light of this first commandment?  The “great and first commandment” speaks for itself.  God does not want our seconds but He wants our best and He deserves our best.  He is our maker, whose image we are made in.  Ever since sin entered the world God has been trying to get us back.  In order for God to redeem us he needs us to be Holy as He is Holy.  That is a near impossible task because once we sin once we can never be as Holy as God is Holy.   Luckily God had a plan!   

Phase one involved setting up a system of sacrificing animals through which the nation of Israel could have their sin forgiven.  The issue was that even though the sacrificing of animals did forgive sins it did not fix the root of the problem which is humans have a sinful nature.   The Israelites kept sinning.  That is why God had to roll out phase two of His plan to redeem all humanity: God sent his son Jesus to be the ultimate sacrifice.  A sacrifice that covers the sins we have committed as well as the sins we are going to commit.  This fixes the root of the problem because it allows Jesus to come in to our souls and change our sinful nature to a God-like nature (don’t ask me how, it is just super cool).  This can only take place when you “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”  That is the only way God can live in us and with us.

God did not leave us with those words and hoped we would figure it out.  He left us His Holy Spirit (which is the part that comes in and changes our soul) and He left us with a recording of His sayings and His Prophets.  During phase one of God’s plan he gave the Israelites the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20).   All Ten Commandments are directed at our actions.  Then during phase two of God’s plan, Jesus builds on the Ten Commandments and takes it beyond just our actions to the intent behind our actions.  On the Sermon on the Mount Jesus tells us “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them” (Matthew 5:17).  Jesus wants more than just the correct actions from the Ten Commandments; He wants our heart soul and mind as well.  In that same sermon Jesus tells us that 21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment” and 27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5: 21 – 22 & 27 – 28).  God wants all of us!  He wants our heart, our mind, our soul.  

How do we go about giving God our ALL?  There are so many other things screaming for our attention that we may lose sight of what we are to be focusing on first.  At the same time God does not want us to lock ourselves in the room and read the Bible and pray all day.  Jesus made that evident when he told us to 19”Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  (Matthew 28:19 – 20)  Focusing on God is more than reading the Bible and prayer.  I call it “breathing God.”  Every breath I take I should be thinking about how my actions are affecting the Kingdom.

As American Christians, we need to stop allowing ourselves to be content being comfortable.  A passage that really has me concerns is Matthew 7:21 – 23 where Jesus says, 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’  These people that Jesus is rejecting were good people who have done good actions.  Jesus is not solely interested in our actions but he is interested in our WHOLE being.  He is not impressed by how many people we save, or how many people we heal, or how many kids we played with.  What He wants and what He asks for is US; how long did this person spend “breathing God?”  I know I am not there and I feel far from it.  It is a journey that begins anew everyday and gets stronger every time I chose to answer the question:  “Is this action/thought really glorifying and honoring my God whom I am called to love with all my heart, soul, and mind?”