“As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
He said to another man, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.” Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God (Luke 9:57-62).
Have you ever bought a new car and then have suddenly seen that same model all around town? Or heard the same song on the radio every time you turn on the radio, no matter what station is on? A similar thing happened to me recently.
My Five Minute Friday post a couple of weeks ago was on the word “surrender.” Subsequently, I began seeing the word everywhere in the book I was reading. It all started out with the following quote relating to the verse at the beginning of this post:
Consistent with His encounter with the rich young ruler, Jesus was requiring an absolute surrender. To be a disciple means forsaking everything to follow Jesus, unconditionally, putting our lives completely in His hands. When we say that we want to be His disciples, yet attach a list of conditions, Jesus refuses to accept our terms. His terms involve unconditional surrender” (The Hole in the Gospel).
If this concept isn’t enough to shake you up a bit, as it did to me, then continue reading to see what else I found in the book. For example, while describing his conversion experience later on, the author said this, “I had crossed over from unbelief to belief, but this was just the first step. The real journey of faith requires that our choices, our actions, and everything else in our lives be surrendered to God’s will rather than our own. For the Christian, it is a lifelong process” (The Hole in the Gospel).
Something similar was mentioned a few pages later:
“Becoming a follower of Christ is a lifelong process of growing, learning, and changing. It is also a process of surrender… A fitting metaphor for the Christian walk is that of enlisting in the army. Upon enlistment, the soldier immediately surrenders control of his or her life. Where the enlistee lives, when he or she moves, what clothing will be worn, how that enlistee will behave, and what he or she will do – all of these things are given over to the commanding officers to decide. Becoming a Christian requires a similar surrender–except that no one is ever drafted; it’s always voluntary and it takes longer to realize than a four-year enlistment. The truth is that surrender is not an easy thing to do. But without that surrender a soldier is not useful to the army, and a Christian is not useful to God” (The Hole in the Gospel).
Wow. If God wanted to get my attention, He sure had it by now! And this was hitting close to home for me. But I must still not have totally gotten it or else He wanted to drive his point home because the previous section then went on to say:
“Earlier I mentioned that one of the most powerful reasons we don’t totally surrender our lives to Christ is that we don’t want to sacrifice the things we possess; they have began to possess us…Consequently, our things become idols. In fact, anything we put ahead of God in our lives becomes an idol. Jonah learned that lesson the hard way. God can’t give you the blessings He has for you until you first put down the other things you are clutching in your hands” (The Hole in the Gospel).
Yes, God really did want to get my attention with all this because having “good” things become idols in my life is something I’ve noticed and struggled over for quite a while now. But God is gracious and Part 2 of the book, where I had been reading all these quotes, ended with this encouraging thought:
“God wants each of us to surrender our lives to Him completely, to follow Him, to obey His commands, and to show His love to others. But before we can demonstrate that love and offer the gospel to the rest of the world, we have to fill that hole in our own gospel.
Why did God make me? To love, serve and obey Him. Very simple, yet extremely profound. If we all woke up every morning asking, “How can I love, serve and obey God today?” it might change everything–it might even change the world” (The Hole in the Gospel).
Now what do I do with all this information? I’m still working through that one so stay tuned!
**And a note to my subscribers: The busy holiday season is officially here which is why you are getting this post at the END of my “Mindful Monday” instead of at the BEGINNING!