“I pledge allegiance to…” How do you finish that sentence? We all pledge our allegiance to something or someone. Many are brought up being taught to pledge their allegiance to their nation. When I was younger, we said the pledge of allegiance to our country’s flag at the beginning of each school day. Now that we’re adults, we get to choose where and to whom we will pledge our allegiance. If you follow Jesus, the choice is simple.
Jesus does not accept divided loyalty. He demands our whole heart, the entirety of our devotion because He knows it is impossible to serve two masters (Matthew 6:24). I am grateful for living in America. Despite what seems to be a never-ending erosion of our values and principles, I still think it’s the best place to live. But I pledge allegiance to Jesus and no one or nothing else.
That’s not as true as I wish it were. There are times my actions show my allegiance lies elsewhere. Any time I sin or engage in the ways of this world—be they my country or something more global—I am creating idols in my life. Allegiance has no room for idols. There are no double-agents in the Kingdom of God. Pledging our allegiance to Jesus means purging everything that is not Jesus from our lives. If you are anything like me, you have a lot of habits that do not demonstrate your allegiance to Christ. They have become so ingrained in our lives we don’t see them as anti-Christ, but as just the way we live.
If we want to pledge our allegiance to Jesus, we need to examine our lives down to the smallest detail. We can leave no stone unturned because Satan will seize the smallest bit of treason in our lives and amplify it to disastrous proportions. Peter tells us the devil prowls around looking for weaknesses so he can devour us (1 Peter 5:8). Lions always pick out the weakest prey, and if we are harboring idols in our lives, we are weak and vulnerable to attack.
It is here I must remind you that living for Jesus can be painful and difficult, at least until we surrender completely to Him. As we inspect our lives, we will find things we need to remove. Some of those habits and relationships will be painful to excise. We won’t want to lose them. But remember, losing everything is the only way that we can find eternal life with Jesus.
I don’t know the things to which you give your allegiance. I only know I want to say I pledge allegiance to Jesus and nothing else. Whatever is not Jesus in my life must go. This is the requirement for being His disciple. When following Jesus means more to us than anything on earth, we will find everything we had been chasing to be worthless lies. Only Jesus is true. Only He will stand victorious. If you are serious about following Jesus, this can’t wait. Examine everything you’ve allowed into your life through the lens of your allegiance to Christ. Get rid of anything that is not of Him. You will never regret it. Then, when you stand before Him in judgment, you can honestly say, “I pledged my allegiance to You Jesus.” I can’t think of a better ending to our lives.