Friday, January 3, 2014

All Or Nothing




God is calling this generation to its true purpose in Christ. This is an appeal for this generation to live up to that purpose and become what it was destined to be. “All or nothing” is a battle cry; a cry to rally and stir up a generation that will give God our all or nothing at all. A generation that does not make Christ simply a part of our lives, but a generation that puts Christ at the center of everything we do.
We live in a generation where apathy is the norm, not the exception. We are known for our addiction to video games, lack of interest, and irresponsibility. Researchers suggest that this is the most biblically illiterate generation in history! It’s time to change that. When Jesus tells us to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength” this is not a suggestion but a command. So let’s be the generation of David’s, the generation of
Joshua’s and Caleb’s; the ones who boldly take a stand for the one true God.
We live in a time when the most we are called to give God is a few hours a week for youth group and maybe a couple more on Sundays. We say, “Here God, take this part of me, but I’m going to keep the rest.” We compromise. Giving God everything isn’t even on the radar. Sports, media, and friendships fill up our time and deplete our physical energy when it should be devoted to God. Not that sports, friends, and Facebook are bad in and of themselves, but when we put them in a place above God it becomes idolatry. “When we build our lives on anything but God, that thing – though a good thing – becomes an enslaving addiction, something we have to have in order to be happy” says pastor and author Timothy Keller.
I love the story of King Josiah. Josiah became king of Judah at eight years old and was one of the best kings that nation ever had. Why? Because he went throughout the nation and tore down the idols and turned his people back to the one true God. He was sold out for God. For him, it was all or nothing.
Idols can be the love of money or of fame, or maybe it’s acceptance we are lusting after. It could be our sports teams, music, or whatever it is that we are passionate about. It can be anything in which we spend our time trying to succeed, but our generation has a warped view of success. We spend so much time trying to gain popularity or strive to excel in things that have no ultimate impact. Francis Chan says, “Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.”
Even as I am writing this I’m thinking to myself, “Do we really have to give God everything?” But the Bible says in Revelation 3:16, “So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth. I wish you were either one or the other!” God would rather us be totally indifferent towards Him than halfheartedly for Him. We are either in or out, hot or cold, against Him or for Him. There is no middle ground with God. You may be asking the same question that I am right now, “Is it worth it.” Well let’s take a look at who we would be giving our all for.
Jesus Christ was beaten to the point where he was barely even recognizable as human. He was nailed to a cross and the punishment and shame for our sins were thrust upon his soul. The King of kings willingly left the perfection of heaven and became a man; the only one who is truly worthy to be served “came to serve, not to be served.” He was beaten, bruised, and broken. His skin was torn to pieces by whips composed of broken pieces glass and bone that shredded him to pieces. All of this he bore willingly, so that the people who placed him on that cross could be forgiven. If Christ did all of this for us – taking what we deserved – isn’t he worth every ounce of passion, talent, and energy that we have?! The very least Christ deserves is the very best we can give him.
One day, we will all have to stand before God and give an account of our lives. Nancy Guthrie writes about this day in her book, The One Year Book of Discovering Jesus In The Old Testament, when she says that many of us will stand before the throne and “The judge will be the One [we] claimed to love but did not truly love. He will be the One that [we] mocked or merely dismissed as unnecessary or unworthy.” (emphasis mine) We don’t give God our all because we either view giving God everything as unnecessary or view God unworthy of our all. We don’t think giving God our everything is worth it.
I don’t say this to be harsh. I don’t say this to be condescending. This article is as much to myself as to anyone else. I say all of this because I believe our generation is missing out. Dietrich Bonheoffer was a man who was martyred standing for Christ against the Nazi regimes. He says in his book, The Cost of Discipleship, “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” Jesus says to us “take up your cross and follow me” (Luke 9:23). That doesn’t sound very halfhearted. The words of the young missionary and martyr, Jim Elliot, ring loud and clear when he says, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” Our generation tries to compromise what Jesus has commanded us to do, or maybe it’s that we are not willing to compromise. We are not willing to compromise our reputation or friendships in order to give God everything.
We hear it so often that God has a plan for us beyond any of our wildest dreams, but do we really believe it? We have been given a purpose, and the only way to live up to and fulfill that purpose is to give God everything we have. Let’s take those idols that are impeding God’s power in our lives and not only tear them down, but turn them around. We are no longer athletes; we are ambassadors for Christ disguised as athletes. We are no longer musicians, but ambassadors for Christ disguised as musicians. Let’s use those things that used to take our passion, time, and effort and use them as methods to share the gospel of Christ’s love and power in the lives of the hundreds of people that we come in contact with everyday.
God cannot use people who are only partially devoted to him. Jesus Christ changed the world with twelve men who were willing to give everything they had – including their lives – for his purpose and plan. Guillermo Maldonado says in his book How to Walk In the Supernatural Power of God, “The only ability God requires is availability.” I don’t know about you, but I want to stand before Christ one day and have him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Let’s be the generation that says, “God, I will give you my all because you are worthy of it.” The generation that says, “It’s all or nothing.”
Points for consideration:
  • Is Christ at the center of everything we do?
  • What are the things that are taking the place of God in our lives?
  • Our greatest fear shouldn’t be of failure but of succeeding in things that don’t really matter.
  • Remember who we are giving our all for.
  • The very least Christ deserves is the very best we can give him.
  • If God is not getting everything we have, we either view him as unnecessary or unworthy.
  • God would rather us be totally indifferent towards Him than halfheartedly for Him.
  • The only ability God requires is availability.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” — Hebrews 12:1-3