I have been a child of God and serving in ministry but I asked myself “Am I all in?” I am on my knees before God. The last few days God has been speaking to me in various ways. I started reading the book “God said yes” by Frank Retief which made me question my own standing with God.
Fast forward to last night and we are at Bible Study discussing the rise and fall of the church of Ephesus. We are reading from Acts 20 where Paul is warning the elders of the Ephesian Church urgently and with tears. The phrase that challenges my heart is where Paul declares in verse 24 “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace”
I ask myself, “Have I given up my life for Christ?”. I argue, “Yes I have sacrificed my “normal” life here in the comforts of South Africa to serve him”, but if I am honest with myself there is still so much that I am holding back. I’m not all in.
Motorcycle morning time with God
This morning Michael suggested that we take the motorbike and go have our quiet time on Chapman’s Peak drive. It was a beautiful morning and we found the perfect quiet spot to enjoy the view and spend time with God. I decided to read the three small epistles of John in one go.
Right from the first letter of John God spoke right into my heart and broke me. I recognised that there were areas of my life where I was still holding back. I am still weeping before the Lord as I write this, asking him to change my heart.
God’s Love Revealed
The book of 1st John is all about God’s love for us and God revealing himself to us through his love. As I read it became clear to me that I fall short big time. I am still holding back but I don’t know why. I’m not all in.
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.1 John 2:15-17
Right there I see in myself that I still love the things of the world. I attach more value to these things than to the will of God. But why? I know that the things of the world has no eternal value. So why do I hold on to them so tightly?
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.1 John 3:16
What kind of love is this? Not something that fades away. This is a deep, complete and eternal love which is meant to take root in us and flow out from us. But my selfishness prevents me from living out God’s purpose in my life. I want God’s love but instead of laying down my life for others like Christ did, I just wallow in the blessing for my personal and selfish gain.
No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.1 John 4:12
Why am I holding back?
If God has given everything for me and wants to abide in me, why am I still holding back? What do I think that I can do in my own strength and for myself that God cannot? What benefit will I get from grasping onto the little bit of control I think I can still have? I haven’t surrendered everything. In some senses I am still trying to control aspects of my life. My selfishness and arrogance confronts me and I am broken. Here I have a good and gracious God that offers everything up for me and wants to abide in me but my stupidity is the biggest obstacle to having God use me.
It has become more obvious to me that God cannot use me while I am still trying to hold onto my sinful nature. If I keep satisfying my selfish desires and looking out for myself, I can’t be wholly filled by Him. Honestly I don’t know why I am holding back. I know that there is nothing that I can benefit myself which God can’t. I know that God can profit me more than I can profit myself but my pride makes me try to hold on to all that.
Is it the giving up of control that we fear? Is it a fear of suffering or pain? Perhaps it is because we don’t want to look like a lunatic or labelled a religious freak, Bible nut, or holier-than-thou. Let’s just be normal and balanced. But at what cost?
Urgency for Lost Souls
In my reading of Frank Retief’s book I picked up his urgency for lost souls. In our Bible study last night we saw Paul’s urgency as he urged the elders with tears. I asked myself, why am I not seeing that same urgency in me? Why don’t I feel the tears for lost souls? This morning I realised that it was selfishness. It is all about myself and what I can get from it.
Maybe even my service in God’s Kingdom has been for my own selfish gain so that I can get the rewards in His Kingdom when I die.
Change My Heart, O God!
Today I want that to change. I cry out to God to change my heart. Abide in me Lord so that your love can be made perfect through me. May your love flow through me to seek the lost and reach them for your kingdom. I don’t want to serving God for selfish gain. I want to serve him for His Kingdom’s sake. Because He loved me and gave himself up for me.
I’m desperate for God to break down everything in me that does not please Him and reeks of selfishness and pride. I want to lift Him up and not myself. I want His Love and Spirit to dwell in me and reach people through me. Whatever the cost. Whatever it takes. Today I give it all up. My reputation, my rights, and all control of my life. I am all in!
Cleanse me from my unrighteousness, fill me with your Spirit and make your love perfect in me.