Oswald Chambers says, “When we come up against the barriers of natural relationship, where is Jesus Christ? Most of us desert Him—‘Yes, Lord, I did hear Your call; but my mother is in the road, my wife, my self-interest, and I can go no further.‘ ‘Then,’ Jesus says, ‘you cannot be my disciple.’”
Many followers of Christ know this principle to be true: abandonment of all we hold dear is necessary for true communion with the living God. But how many of us, if we speak honestly, would walk away from our spouse and our family if God asked us to do it?
I realize I’m walking a fine line here theologically, but my point is that I believe many churches counsel their members into thinking that God only acts in ways that won’t offend the “sensibilities” of a church congregation, or won’t upset the fiscal balance of a family’s livelihood, and won’t defy human rationalism. We churchgoers say we want to make a difference for Christ, but really, we want to keep our heads down, stay out of trouble, and hope to God that something doesn’t destroy our carefully constructed suburban dream.
There are no “birds in the hand” so to speak, with the Christian life. You cannot keep something back from Christ as a nest egg of security (safe job, loving wife, beautiful children, nice home) and also expect Christ to use you in a way that makes the powers of darkness tremble in fear. You must be willing to risk losing all of these to become a true disciple of Christ.
But I can’t tell you how many times I have sought wise Christian counsel about a difficult issue or God’s calling for change in my life and heard, “Well, God put you here for a reason, and you should keep quiet and try to work things out in a manner that is pleasing to Him, and pleasing to the church.” Translation: keep your head down and your nose clean and everything will be all right. Don’t rock the boat. Don’t question. Just be content with what God has given you and eventually, you’ll be happy with it.
I believe most of us followers of Christ miss out on our true destiny because we are too afraid to hear what the voice of God is telling us. We are too afraid to put it all on the line, because deep down, we don’t believe God is who He says He is. God is the God of the universe, and yet we expect Him to act like our neighbor down the street who always keeps his grass clipped at a certain height and is captain of the Neighborhood Watch committee.
God is GOD and we are not! Do not put Him in a box. We know things about His character and His law, but until we get with Him in true abandonment of our self—relinquishing all that we are, all that we love, all that we have—how can we expect to understand His ways? And the sad reality is, most of our friends in church will not recognize what true abandonment to God looks like. They will label it as foolishness, selfishness, mid-life crises, mental illness—they will label it and dismiss it, because it jeopardizes their own sense of security in the paths they have chosen.
The truth of the matter is, though, that ultimately each one of us stands alone before God to give account of our lives and our choices. We do not stand with our church board of elders, our discipleship group, our employers, or our spouses. Each saint’s account of his life is his and his alone. What matters is the nature of our relationship with and our heart for God.
Do you hear the voice of God calling you to something completely insane? Something so risky and “ill-advised” that it makes you a little woozy just thinking about it? Get alone with Him. Pray without ceasing for clarity, faith, and peace. Then ask Him to confirm it through His Word, in your life, and through strangers. Attune your will to His spirit, and if He is, indeed, calling you, you will know. Then the only question will be: Do you desire security more than you desire to see the face of God?
“The test of abandonment is always over the neck of natural devotion. Go over it, and God’s own abandonment will embrace all those you had to hurt in abandoning.” (Chambers)Read More...