There’s a certain appeal to abandoning everything for Christ. We’re compelled by the sheer enormity of the task. It can be alluring to so radically go against the flow of society. We will indeed stand out as a very peculiar people. That’s the vision many have when they embark on total surrender. The act is noteworthy and pleasing to God. Our deepest desire is to live our lives in a way that glorifies Jesus. So why do so many who choose to surrender all wind up going back to recover some of it for themselves?
The problem is that the excitement of giving your life to Jesus is often quite boring and unexciting when viewed through the lens of daily life. We spend hours helping others, ignoring our own pain, and often suffering financial or even physical harm. That’s not very enticing. Where are the blessings promised for following Jesus? Where is the rest we were supposed to find? It begins to look like something far less than we envisioned when we signed on. The temptation is to walk away from our calling and fall into societal norms. Saying we surrender all costs us nothing. When a price begins to be demanded, we waver and wonder what exactly we’ve gotten ourselves into.
Following Jesus is rarely glamorous. Sure there are some celebrity Christians who seem to have it all going for them. They even have the big house, the nice car, and the relative comforts of their secular counterparts. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between a movie star and a megachurch pastor. But for the average follower of Christ, life is a lot messier. For most of us, life will happen in the trenches. We are foot soldiers, not generals. We are the spark that ignites the flame. This is not a sexy role, but it is a vital one.
Before proclaiming Jesus as Lord, you must be prepared to lead an unremarkable and unglamorous life. You must be willing to work unnoticed, unrewarded, and unrecognized. All glory must be given to God; we are to want none for ourselves. Our goal should be to make God as proportionately visible as we are invisible. As Steven Furtick points out in his book, “Greater”, our disappointments and failures are often the exact situations God uses to glorify Himself. We can’t see it at the time. We only see our own desperation. But God uses those moments to further His Kingdom, and thus we fulfill our purpose. If anonymity is not your style, you may very well need to consider whether or not following Jesus is in the cards for you. Until you are willing to let go of it all, you aren’t ready to grasp the feet of the Savior.
Following Jesus has no room for moderation. It is all or nothing. You can’t take it too far. Are you ready to surrender everything, even if it means you won’t get it back? Can you give up your dreams for the sake of fulfilling your place in the Kingdom of God? Can you abandon your plans for the sake of furthering the mission of Christ? Surrendering all is dirty, gritty and anything but stylish. As long as we are in the way, we are blocking the world’s view of Christ. Surrendering all is a call to shrink into the shadows, to abandon our dreams of personal glory and achievement. It’s all and only about Jesus. Are you willing to disappear?