In his book, “Renegade”, Vince Antonucci writes, “We want to follow Jesus and we want to live nice, safe, comfortable lives that are ‘normal.’ That’s a problem—because it doesn’t work. You can’t have both. Following Jesus means embracing a selfless, crazy, dangerous, God-obsessed life, and that’s something most people refuse to do.”
It’s disappointing discipleship is becoming somewhat of a buzzword in churches because few I’m aware of qualify discipleship with Antonucci’s definition above. The disciples of Jesus left everything they knew behind to follow Him. They didn’t simply leave homes, jobs, and possessions, they left their passions and the only way of life they ever knew. Discipleship means going all in with Jesus.
Antonucci goes on to say, “Anywhere we look in the Bible, we see that we are meant to be all-in when it comes to following Jesus. We know that, and we want to make that commitment. So we say yes, but it’s a yes with lots of buts.” I believe there are no “buts” in Heaven. We are either all in or all out (Matthew 12:30). Either Jesus is worth everything to us or He isn’t worth anything at all. That is harsh language and I admit difficult to even write because it implicates me and the life I’m living. I have made a conscious decision to devote everything I do to building God’s Kingdom but I fail every day. I am not yet at a place where every thought, word, and deed is surrendered to Him.
Thankfully, God looks at our heart and intentions (1 Samuel 16:7). He sees what we desire most. That’s good news because there’s no way any of us would make it any other way. The caveat is becoming His disciple must truly be our heart’s desire. You can’t fool God. You can’t have Jesus with a “but” in your heart. Jesus overlooks our failures but He can’t see past our “buts”. We simply cannot have God without being all in. With this in mind, we must ask ourselves, what are we holding back? What are the “buts” keeping us from going all in?
For some, we can’t give up our dreams or passions. Some can’t let go of their money, possessions, or comforts. Still others clutch tightly to their spouses, children, boyfriends, girlfriends, or simply friends. And for some of us, it’s our pets. It doesn’t matter what is most difficult for you to let go of, it must be released. Disciples of Jesus have Him and nothing else in their hearts.
This isn’t about selling your possessions and living a destitute life. It’s not about becoming a monk or intentional martyr. We’re talking about what is truly in your heart. No games here. You know if there are things standing between you and God. Get rid of them. Knock them down. You must go all in because it’s the only way that matters. It’s the only life that counts. And it’s the only way we can ever life the life God created us to live.