All or Nothing

So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.“  Luk 14:33

How important is your relationship with Christ?  Is it the most important thing in your life or is it just one of the more important things?  Do not quickly give a pat answer.  Think about it, for how you truthfully answer this one question will indicate where your heart is.

The philosopher Socrates (469-399 BC) said the following.  “The unexamined life is not worth living.”  According to Douglas Groothuis in his book, Philosophy in Seven Sentences,  this statement is hyperbole, a provocative overstatement, not to be taken completely literally.  However, Socrates was a seeker of truth and the truth was extremely important to him, and he dedicated his life in the pursuit of it.  This was not for the attainment of knowledge only, but to find fulfillment in this life.  For truth is much more satisfying then delusion.  In his closing sentence in the chapter on Socrates, Doug says the following, “Yet Socrates tells us that finding the truth is worth it.  The examined life may lead for a time to self-doubt and even self loathing, but for Socrates the self must stand under the truth.  May this inspire all of us.”  (Doug Groothius, “Philosophy in Seven Sentences”, Page 48.)  I hope you appreciate this quote from Socrates, one of the more famous philosophical quotes in history, and one of my personal favorites.  What I want to do now is focus on one aspect of this examined life, and this deals with how important is this life in Christ to us.

In the book of Luke we read the following, “Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.  Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.  For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?  Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’  Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand?  And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace.  So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.“  Luk 14:25-33.  The meaning here is that if we do not love Christ supremely, above anything or anyone else, then we do not truly love Him.  It is not saying that we must hate everyone else to love Him, but our love for Him must be foremost.  This is because we will do for those first whom we love the most.  Jesus says we are not worthy of Him if we do not love Him above all else.  Moreover, Matthew adds the following idea.  “”Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.  For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.  And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household.“”  Mat 10:34-36.  This is Jesus quoting Micah 7:6.  Jesus is telling us how much we are to give up if we truly follow Him.  Our family and friends if it comes to that.  Also, we are called to give op our possessions, desires, hopes and dreams if these things get in the way.  Are we ready to give these things up?

I have been spending some concerted time thinking on these things.  He wants it all.  Not that we have to give it all up, but be willing to give it all for the cause of Christ.  This is a tough message.  Moreover,  it is really tough to examine ourselves and find we have not given all and we have areas in our life we have not placed under the calling of Christ.  No one said the Christian life is easy.  It is hard because it goes totally against the ways of this world.  Also, most of what we are called to give up are not intrinsically bad.  There is nothing inherently wrong with money, but the love of it is wrong.  Essentially, anything is wrong if it trumps Christ and our love for Him and His calling for us.  We must place ALL things at His feet and be willing to lose it all for Him.

I want to challenge anyone who reads this post to take some time to examine who you are and how devoted you are to Christ.  I have been on this journey for some time, and I will probably not be finished until I go home.  But it is important that we focus on these things so that we can make the changes necessary to draw closer to Him and make everything and everyone else secondary.  We are called to go out and spread the gospel, make disciples, and be a light in this dark world.  This should be our priorities, and whatever we do, be it work, relax, travel, etc, that we are open to hearing God’s call for service.  We are called to be instant in season and out of season.  Whatever you do, always be ready to do His work.  And remember, we must be willing to put aside anything that gets in the way so that they do not take precedence over Christ.  He is either first or nothing.

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