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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

How Much Does God Really Have of Me...or You?

"God has all of me there is to have." William Carey
"The research has consistently shown over the past two decades that the lives of born-again Christians are indistinguishable from those of people who do not claim Jesus Christ as their savior." George Barna 
" In other words, most Christians have a relationship with God that could be described as "active but stalled" - a connection that has plateaued in its passion and influence, despite the continued commitment of time and energy to religious activity." George Barna
A few weeks ago, Jim LaMontagne gave a talk at our Sunday gathering in his Beyond Us: How God Moves Us Beyond Ourselves series. Talking about Abraham, he included a response William Carey gave to a question about his success as a missionary. As noted above, Carey said God had all of him; he was completely dedicated to the ways of God and redemptive mission of God - 100% commitment.
It got me thinking about what percentage God has of me, of my heart and will? While a number doesn't necessarily reveal much, and will inevitably be a subjective ranking at best (I'll skew it to a higher number most likely), it can be a helpful glimpse, especially as an aid to honest self-assessing, where I really am.
In my heart of hearts, I want it to be 100%, especially since I've been in Northampton. It makes little sense to me to be less committed. I don't like the spiritual dissipation of chasing after the wind blowing from the world's useless greeds and lusts. After all, what higher aspiration in this world could a person have than being a "fully-devoted follower of Jesus Christ?" The privilege of serving the King of kings ranks as chief in my estimation. At the same time, I've experienced lukewarmness and distracted indifference over the years. In my spiritual growing, I've been detained by other activities which sparkled but turned out to be fool's gold. As Barna notes, I've been "active, but stalled," "plateaued" on vast mesas of wandering or going after a brass ring that ends up to be tin foil.
As I think about it, God having all of me means his ways and his Kingdom mission are my pearl of great price. Therefore, being a husband, father, grandfather, spiritual formation catalyst, drummer, and friend all draw a bead on an overriding Purpose. My time, talent, money, stuff, hopes, dreams, and rights becomes means to achieve the End to which I've been summoned. There is no compartmentalizing "sacred and secular." I don't go to church; I am the church (you know what I mean). Being a Jesus-follower is a full-time gig with no time off or retirement as long as I'm on this side of Paradise.
I've been "working out my salvation" for almost four decades. It's not been pretty, but God has much more of me now than he did when I crossed over into the Kingdom  in 1972. I have a passion to see Christ glorified in this world and to see people snatched from the jaws of desolation in this world and the next. I love Jesus and have come to believe he actually loves the quixotic likes of me. There is so much evidence. 
So while I'm not completely confident he has all of me just yet, I can say I want him to. I can also say I hope I can get there while I'm still on this "terrestrial ball." Yeah, I know I may not be able to recognize it even if he's grants me 100% status, but he has my full permission to get me there.
The question is what about you dear reader? Can you say with confidence, "God has all of me there is to have?" If no, what do you still withhold from him? Why? With the Holy Spirit guiding you, take an inventory of your heart's true allegiances. Where are you compromised because of besetting or past, unconfessed sin or still holding onto the word's pleasures, attainments, privileges and distractions? Where does fear keep you doggedly pursuing safety and security? Where has disappointment and setback lead to detachment and indifference.? Where are you just tired and have given up? Worse yet, where are you kidding yourself thinking that your current "religious" commitment is just fine?
What if God actually had all there is of you to have? What would it look like? What would you need to change, and today for that to happen? How would your life be different?
Does it matter to you? It should.
Ask Jesus to do whatever it takes to get you there, and I really mean whatever it takes. As you read that sentence, notice if there was resistance or detachment, subtle or otherwise. Ask God to identify it right now. It's indicates where you really are in following Jesus and what really stands in the way of full surrender and inviting him to make you 100%.

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