Recently, my hubby said something in a sermon about people being willing to give God some of ourselves, maybe even most of ourselves, but until we give Him EVERY-thing, we won’t experience Christianity the way God intended.
So I’m thinking to myself, “That’s sounds a lot like dieting.” (Probably because I would REALLY like a huge plate of nachos for lunch instead of the baked fish waiting on me.) The comparison occupied my mind for several days as I adjusted to my new diet. Each time I made a poor food choice, I was reminded how similar choices hinder my Christian walk.
What if I eat mostly “allowed” foods, and give up all the “bad” foods except maybe one or two? Can’t I give up the extra pizza and sugary soft drinks with friends, but eat a pack of cookies in private? I mean, giving up MOST of the foods that make me fat counts for something, right? Surely giving up MOST every “forbidden” food allows me the right to a nightly bowl of vanilla ice cream covered in chocolate syrup and candy coated sprinkles.
Of course not!
I have to wonder why so many of us do the same with our Christian walk. We give up most everything, only holding on to those “little” vices that we “deserve.” Surely giving up most of our sinful desires counts for something. Giving up MOST of our “old life” gives us the right to hang on to one little part of it, doesn’t it?
I can have all the tools to get healthy. I can join a gym, carry a gym pass on my key ring, pack my gym bag with new sneakers and sweat absorbent socks and carry it around in the back seat of my car. I can study all about nutrition and exercise so that I can rattle off everything you could possibly need to know to maintain a healthy body.
However, if I’m not applying what I know about nutrition, and if I am not actually GOING to the gym and EXERCISING, these things do me no good.
Eventually people will see that I am all talk.
Likewise, carrying a Bible around in the backseat of my car, being a member of a marvelous church, and knowing all the facts about Christianity and a relationship with Jesus Christ are not enough to reap the full benefit of being a Christian if I do not read that Bible, attend that church, and apply that knowledge. Just like people eventually see the truth about whether or not I really am going to the gym and eating right, people will eventually see the truth about whether I KNOW Christ or just know about Him.
We don’t get the intended results of a diet if we don’t follow it. We don’t get the full benefit of the gym if we don’t actually EXERCISE. The same is true with the Christian life. I can give up almost all of my vices, give God “most” of myself, and still get some of (maybe even most of) the benefits of being a Christian, but I won’t experience Christianity as God intended unless I am “all in.” Eventually, people can tell more about me by the fruit I bear than by what I try to make them believe about me. What’s really in my heart will come out.
No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thorn bushes, or grapes from briers. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks. Luke 6:43-45 (NIV)
Pray with me?
Father, don’t let me be satisfied with giving you “most” of me. Show me the sin that I won’t let go of. Please reveal any area of my life that is not reflecting YOUR glory. Then Lord, help me to live totally and completely for you. Amen.