What Must I Give Up for Christ?
“What do I have to give up?” This is a common question we may ask when turning our life over to Christ. We are very attached to what we have acquired or achieved, and why not? A lot of time, energy and resources goes into everything we obtain in life. Do we have to relinquish it all to follow Christ?
A Life Surrendered
A commitment to Christ doesn’t mean we have to live in poverty. The walk of a Christian is never determined by what we have or don’t have. To follow Christ is not the denial of things, but the denial of our will to accept His will. It is a life surrendered to God. However, if our heart is consumed by our possessions, then our walk with Christ is distracted. We cannot follow Christ if our love for things outweighs our love for Him.
What is holding us back from committing to Christ? Is it our lifestyle? Is it our relationship with someone or something? How about fear or doubts? What are we holding on to that we just can’t let go of? What is it that we value above our soul?
Things Fade Away
The Word of God states, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and loses his soul?” (Mark 8:36) What we see and feel is temporary. These things fade away. They corrupt and rot. They get stolen and lost. People are on our side today and tomorrow they can turn their back on us. When we put our trust in things or people, we must be open to the chance that these things will fail us. What about our soul? Have we put an investment in the keeping of our soul?
None of the things we see in front of us goes with us to the grave. Our soul will not die. The body will die, but our soul lives on. What investment have we made into our eternity? In Matthew 19:21-22, the rich man approached Jesus and wanted to know what it would take to follow him. Jesus said, “Go sell what you have and give to the poor and follow me.” The rich man could not follow Jesus because His heart was with his wealth.
Focus on the Giver of Gifts
Our focus should never be on what we lose. When we think of Christ, we need to focus on what we will gain. Christ did not come into this world to take anything away from us other than our sin. He came that our lives can be abundant and fulfilling. (John 10:10)
The world has tainted us to measure success by quantifying our possessions. This ideology has crossed over into our walk with the Lord. We too often measure the depth of our walk with God on whether we have the big house or the finest car. God is so much bigger than these materialistic things. Our focus must never be centralized on the gifts, but rather the giver. We must see the value in who God is and not in what God does. He wants people who are not wrapped up in things, but in Him.
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If we are at a moment of decision and we are concerned about what we have to give up, we must stop for a moment and refocus. Christ knows everything about us, including our status and achievements. In fact, it is the blessing from God that has allowed us all to reach our status in life. God has bestowed upon us all His great grace and mercy. If we put our focus on Him, we can see His provision as a loving Father who gives us everything we need to succeed.
As we fine-tune our focus to see our Father, we see Him not holding things back from us, but pouring out abundant blessings. These blessings are not to be hoarded but used in wisdom and love, being blessed and blessing others.
Surrender to Our Loving Father
What do we have to give up? We must surrender whatever stands in the way of our relationship with Christ. If we can serve God and not allow our hearts to be distracted by materialistic things, that is great. However, if materialistic things or the love of any other thing stands in the way of our relationship with God, then that is the thing we must surrender until our love for God is the most dominant part of our life.
Surrender is a matter of trusting our loving Father who has the very best in store for us.
Janet Boynes founded Janet Boynes Ministries in Maple Grove, MN in 2006. She authored the books: Called Out: A Former Lesbian’s Discovery of Freedom, God & Sexuality and her latest book God & The LGBT Community. She challenges individuals and the church to reach out with a message of hope and restoration to those who struggle with identity issues. Her life is proof that the love of God has the power to heal and restore the brokenness in our lives. It’s been over twenty years since she was called out of the lesbian lifestyle. Janet is an ordained minister under the Assemblies of God and travels the U.S. and overseas sharing a message of redemption. Her desire is to bring hope through the power of Jesus Christ.