I’ve often heard a dear brother in Christ say, “And if all don’t mean all, then what do it mean?” I got to thinking about all the different ways the word “all” is used in the Bible. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). I believe the reason why so many Christians are not experiencing the peace and the joy that Christ Jesus made available to us when we accepted Him as our Savior is that we are not giving Him our all. We tend to go about this faith walk business half-heartedly. As James 1:8 points out, we persist in being “double minded, unstable in all our ways.”
We love the Lord dearly and we are passionate about studying His word and proclaiming our faith, yet we find ourselves fretting and, as my dear mom used to say when she was still with us, “stewing around,” because something has happened that we were unprepared for. We forget to do as 1 Peter 5:6-7 says, “Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all of your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” I always want to add a little remark to verse 7: Man, is that ever an understatement! To say that God cares for us is like describing the Pacific Ocean as a lovely pool. God goes way beyong merely caring for us. His love for us is immeasurable, unstoppable, and neverending.
Knowing that the Lord God Almighty loves us that much should cause us to give our hearts completely to Him and serve Him with gladness. However, we have this thing that keeps getting in the way. Our flesh. It seems that the more we learn about God and His perfect love for us, the more corrupt our flesh becomes. The chasm between our new man and our old man grows wider and wider. And when we attempt to serve Him half-heartedly, we end up with one foot in kingdom living and the other foot in the world. We straddle the fence. Women speak of wanting to be godly in their conduct yet they go to great lengths to make themselves look alluring and enticing, wearing certain types of clothing, combing their hair a certain way, and even walking a certain way because they are trying to attract men. Their flesh yearns for the attention of men. And the men also speak of wanting to be godly, yet they also go to great lengths to make themselves look cool and tough. We cater to our flesh and to the flesh of others. It’s all about competition, wanting to be the best. There is a fine line between wanting to look attractive and being seductive. Even though we are happily married, we still find ourselves wanting to turn heads. That’s normal. But normal isn’t always okay. In the eyes of the world a snug, low-cut top is no big deal. In the eyes of a Christian man who struggles with sexual addiction, it’s a very big deal. In fact it’s terrifying. Some TV shows are lethal for sex addicts. Even commercials are dangerous; Victoria’s Secret is a prime example. We all want to look good, but we need to be careful that we don’t let our craving for admiration take us over the line.
How do we maintain a healthy self-image and a godly attitude? We can start by meditating on the word of God and yielding our hearts completely to Him. When we allow Him to have His rightful place in our lives, Number One, then living a life that’s pleasing to Him becomes our greatest desire. You may be single and getting impatient as you wait for that special someone to come along. But if God isn’t Number One in your life, chances are you’re going to settle for someone who is good looking or someone who has plenty of money but does not have a close walk with God. And somewhere down the road, you’re going to be very sorry that you committed yourself to that person because when trouble strikes (and it always does sooner or later), that good-looking or rich person who enticed you, is not going to stand firm on the Solid Rock of Christ. That person is not going to encourage you to draw “Nearer My God to Thee.”
Until we reach a point where we are willing to surrender all to the Lord and allow Him to reign supreme in our lives, we will make it very easy for Satan to gain a foothold is some area. It may be in the area of sexual purity, it may be in the area of financial stewardship, or it may be in the area of parenting. The world is so very good at offering us convenience, entertainment, and instant gratification. Problem is, so much of what the world offers is in direct contradiction to what God wants for us. As a young Christian, I simply was not aware of the importance of committing all my ways to the Lord and delighting myself in Him. I was glad to be saved, but I also wanted a boyfriend. I wanted to become a college graduate and get a good paying job, but I was not willing to put in the hours necessary with my textbooks in order to get the high grades I needed. I was not focused and disciplined. I started my Christian life on weak, wobbly legs; and those legs did not become strong and sturdy until many years later, after experiencing homelessness and making four attempts to end my life. It was only after checking myself into a psychiatric ward and receiving a visit from a dear Christian sister who prayed for me that I was finally, thirty years later, ready to give the Lord Jesus Christ my all.
Now what used to seem boring to me is exciting, and what used to seem exciting to me is scary. I have come to realize how very, very, very easy it would be for me to slip back into that wordly mindset that says, “Hey, whatever. If it feels good, go for it. After all, we only go around once in life. Right? And besides, I worked hard. I earned a little fun.” Well, let’s think about how we define the word “fun.” Let’s consider the possible consequences of having a little fun. If we aren’t going full throttle for God, then the chances are pretty good that we’re leaving a little opening for the enemy to slip in and persuade us to compromise in some way.
The world says it’s no big deal if you want to watch that show or go see that movie or listen to that kind of music. But what does the word of God say? “Show me Your ways, O Lord; teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; on You I wait all the day” (Psalm 25:5). All the day. Not just for a few minutes in the morning or during my lunch break or when I kneel beside my bed before turning in. All day long I look to Him, call upon, trust Him with all of my heart, and wait on Him because at every turn there is something or someone who has something for me to stumble over. The moment my eyes open in the morning, my first thought is not about all the things I need to do that day or that difficult person that I am going to have to deal with again. No, my first thought is this: “Good morning, my Father. Thank You for Your watchful care over me while I slept. Thank You for giving me sleep. Lord, I commit this day to You and am trusting You go guide me through it. “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptible in Your sight, O Lord, my Strength and my Redeemer” (Psalm 19:14).
I surrender all. I surrender all. All to Thee, my Blessed Savior, I surrender all. And that’s all there is to it.