Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works." Matt 16:24-27 (NKJV)
I have a friend who did not grow up attending a church, but had a measure of faith in his heart that caused him to believe in God. He did not have a relationship with God, but he believed that God existed. He started attending meetings at a church and became a Believer. He recently told me the following: "When I started attending church I was clueless--I didn't realize that this was an all or nothing proposition--I didn't realize the magnitude of the changes that God would make in my life. I'm all in!"
Can I even say those words honestly: "I'm all in?" Or do I have closets in my heart that I've locked away from God. O, I already know that God can see inside those closets--He knows exactly what is going on in my life. Is it possible that I am still grasping to maintain control of some areas in my life where I do not want to give up control--places in my heart where God has not been given permission to clean me up? How long will I hold out against the Holy Spirit and not realize the full measure of His blessing?
What does a surrendered life look like? You surrender to God--deny yourself, pick up your cross and walk in complete obedience. What are the possibilities? Ask yourself this question: "Do I have a better plan for my life than the plan that God has for me?" That has got to be a rhetorical question, because the answer is obvious. My plans cannot measure up to the destiny that God has in mind for me. Time to surrender--time to go "all in."
Author's note: I know that my plan for me does not favorably compare to the destiny that God has in mind for my life. Even though I have absolute knowledge of this fact, I struggle with giving up control. What choices do I make when I'm in control? Choices that resemble the following words: For all that is in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.1 John 2:16-17 (NKJV)