9. Jesus, Iím Yours
Please remember to pray before reading!
Jesus Wants Every Part of Us
We must give our whole heart to God or we won't experience a change of character. By nature we are alienated from God and in bondage to Satan. God desires to heal us and set us free. But since this requires an entire transformation, we must give ourselves completely to Him.
The biggest battle we face is against self, our old nature. Self dies hard, but it must die before we can be changed.
God's government is not based on blind submission and unreasonable control. God wants us to make intelligent and informed choices. He will never force us. Because God doesn't want robots, He can't accept worship that isn't willingly given. He wants us to develop and grow and reach the highest potential. He invites us to give ourselves to Him so that He can do great things in us. It's our choice if we want to be set free from the bondage of Satan and experience the glorious freedom of being God's children.
We Can't Serve Two Masters
As we give ourselves completely to God, we will want to turn away from anything that would pull us away from Him. Various attitudes will need adjustment. We can't love money and wealth and still have God as our top priority. We can't desire to be self-important and famous and yet love the meek and lowly Jesus. We can't be self-indulgent and lazy and yet serve our self-less Savior. We need to settle it with ourselves that God and His kingdom are number one. We can't serve God and self at the same time. If we want to be God's children, we must make sure that our hearts are not torn by two conflicting goals.
Some say that they are Christians, but they don't depend on Jesus. They don't rely on His strength to help them to be obedient. They try to do good and perform the external deeds of being a Christian because they think that will help them get to heaven. But they don't really love Jesus. They aren't really Christians at all; their religion is worthless.
When a person has a relationship with Jesus, his heart will be filled with love for Jesus. He will enjoy special times of prayer. He will depend upon Jesus and meditate upon Him. His focus turns from himself to Jesus. His love for Jesus becomes the motivating force for his actions. He won't be trying to get by with spending the minimum time and effort in developing this relationship. He will want to be the best and do the most that he possibly can. He will be eager to give all he has and make his spiritual experience his highest priority. Without this deep love, any effort to live the Christian life will be simply an unpleasant duty and a heavy burden.
Too Big a Sacrifice?
Do you feel that Christ requires too much, that the Christian life is too great a sacrifice? Ask yourself: What has Christ given for me? Think about what Jesus gave: He gave up everything. His complete life, to save us. How can we, the unworthy objects of such love, hold back from giving ourselves to Him? Every minute of our lives we receive blessings from Him. We don't even deserve to live. And because He pours His love and constant blessings upon us, we don't even realize how much He has done for us. In full light of all that He has done, how can we turn away from His love? When we think of all that He suffered for us, how dare we complain about our difficulties and hardships in walking the Christian life?
Sometimes in our pride and arrogance we might think, Why do I need to humble myself and repent before I can have the assurance that God accepts me? Well, consider this: Jesus was completely sinless; He was the Prince of heaven, but He was willing to come to earth to bear our sins. We can't even grasp the agony and humiliation He accepted for us. But what are we asked to give up? We are asked to give up our corrupt and polluted hearts so Jesus can make them clean and fill them with His love. In contrast to what Jesus gave up for us, how ridiculous that we think that it's too much a sacrifice to give our hearts to Him!
It Is for Our Good
The only things God asks us to give up are those things which would be harmful to us. Every step of the path along which Jesus leads us is for our best good. His plans for us are so much better than what we would choose for ourselves! When we go our own way and do our own thing, we are harming ourselves and bringing on unnecessary pain and sorrow. God's way is always best. Even when it doesn't look pleasant to us, in the end we'll find God's way to be the way to joy and peace.
God doesn't want us to suffer. All heaven is ultimately interested in our happiness. Our heavenly Father doesn't deprive us of joy. The only things that God forbids are those things that will cause us suffering and disappointment and that which would hinder our relationship with Him. That's why God's Word warns us about sin.
Just as I Am
Jesus accepts us as we are with all our imperfections. Not only will He forgive us our sins and give us new motives, but He will change our attitudes so that we can be filled with contentment and joy. Our desires will come into line with His will. Because of this change of attitude the Christian life becomes filled with a happiness that the disobedient can never experience. True happiness can be found only in a close relationship with Jesus.
Perhaps you're thinking, How can I experience this close relationship with Jesus? Maybe you want to be a Christian, but you know only too well your weaknesses and failures of the past. Maybe you've tried to do right, but you fail time and time again. Those ingrained evil habits seem to have a stranglehold on you. You've resolved over and over again to do the right thing, but every time you end up doing the same old thing. Then you get discouraged and think that God can't accept you because you just can't do right.
Power of the Will
Don't despair. What you really need to understand is the power of the will. God gave each of us a free choice. It is true that YOU can't do right by yourself. It's impossible for you in your own strength to have the right motives and to keep from sinning. But there is something you can do, and that is you can to choose to give yourself to God.
When you give yourself up to Him, then HE works in you to empower you to do right. But He will only do this as we give Him permission. And when we give up trying to do it in our own strength and ask Him to do it in us, then He will change our hearts. He will give us power to make the right choices so we're no longer in bondage to our bad habits. As we continue to depend upon Him, our life becomes more and more in line with His perfect will.
It's not enough just to want to be good. Many want to do what is right, but that does no good unless we invite Christ to take control of our lives. When we give our wills to God, we become connected with the power of Christ. We are giving Him permission to come into our lives and change us. A connection with Christ is what will lift us up above all the temptations around us and enable us to have victory over sin. Our lives are now in the process of being completely changed. Jesus works in us through the power of the Holy Spirit using our new nature. This is only possible when we turn from our own efforts to obey and trust in Jesus to give us His power to obey.