One of the first things I learned in the US Army is that it requires a total commitment of warriors. You don’t go to battle half-hearted. A soldier must be completely committed to the cause and to the mission because it very well might require their life’s sacrifice.
There are only a few other things in life that require a whole-hearted commitment: marriage, raising children, and believe it or not – following Jesus! Jesus doesn’t give you the option of riding the fence when it comes to faith. It’s all or nothing.
Sell it all
Perhaps the best example of the total commitment that Jesus asks of us is found in Luke 18:22. The guy Jesus was talking to in this story was famously wealthy. He had it all. Luke 18:19-21 says this guy was a really good guy, he was working hard to be a good person, and he was practicing his faith with all his energy.
Jesus makes it clear in this passage that doing religious acts cannot earn your way into heaven. In fact, the language he uses is so shocking that his own disciples asked the question if anybody can possibly make it into Heaven on their own in Luke 18:26.
Jesus could look right into the heart of this man and see what was first in his life. Jesus knew exactly what had first place in this man’s heart. He asked this man to give up the one thing that he loved most in exchange for a relationship with God. He asked him to sell all his possessions. Let me point out, if you’re not familiar with the Bible, this is the only time that Jesus makes a request like this of someone. Nowhere else does he ask someone to sell everything they own. Why does Jesus make this unimaginable request? Because he knew this one thing was keeping this man from following God.
Following Jesus will cost you radical obedience. Radical obedience means at any time Jesus can ask anything of you, and you would be willing to give it up in exchange for your relationship with him. When Jesus asked this man to follow him he was saying, don’t put anything – not your money, not your family, not your job or your future in front of a relationship with me. Did you know that Jesus asks the exact same level of obedience of you and I today?
Chances are, Jesus is not going to ask you to sell it all and follow him, but he expects you to be willing to it sell it all and follow him if he asks it. Ask yourself this question, how important is your relationship with Jesus? If he asked everything of you in exchange for your relationship with him – would you make that trade?
What would you do?
This past Sunday our church recognized a Christian couple who is doing exactly what Jesus asked of this man in Luke 18:22. Brad and Tracy have a brand-new baby boy with a bright future in front of him. They have the world at their fingertips, yet they felt the call of God to go overseas. Right now, they are currently selling all their possessions. They are putting their house on the market because they are following Jesus’ call to serve the persecuted church.
Where they are going is dangerous, what they are doing is difficult, and I am humbled at this couple’s faith. They are demonstrating that the glory of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ is more valuable to them than their personal relationships, than their finances, than their comfort here in the United States. I couldn’t help think, Jesus I hope I would be willing to do what Brad and Tracy are doing if you asked the same thing of me. Just like a warrior goes on to the battlefield with a whole-hearted commitment, Jesus demands that we follow him with a whole-hearted commitment.