My life is not about me and it’s not mine. In the Lord’s graciousness and love he has given me the blessing of being able to enjoy life, but that does not mean I have ownership of it. My perceived ownership of my life is completely false and Jesus gives me the choice of living for him and letting him take active ownership of my life or living for myself and continuously struggling for power and control over my life. He tells me it’s my choice. It’s not complicated. I either surrender everything to him or I don’t. I either live the fullness of the life he has planned for me or I don’t. Every time I feel the need to take apparent control of my life because I’m not trusting God, I’m selling myself out of all the goodness he has for me. Why would I want to short change myself on the blessing of the Lord? Thinking about it this way makes it completely obvious—I don’t want to short change myself; I want absolutely every good thing the Lord has for me. We don’t always think of it this way, though. Most of the time, we are so focused on our plan and/or other people’s plans for our lives that we fail to acknowledge that God is even there or has a plan for us. People tend to desire things that are immediate—immediate pleasure, immediate satisfaction, immediate approval, immediate fulfillment, etc. Because we are so small minded and unable to see the big picture, we sell out God’s amazing, big, fulfilling, and joyful plan for our immediate desires.
We sell ourselves short on God’s beautiful plan for us because it’s not easy. It’s not easy to go against the grain of society’s standards and live to Christ’s standards, but if anyone wants to be a true follower of Christ that is what he must do. Jesus was so radical for God that the temple leaders desired to kill him. Jesus was not satisfied with the methods and formulas the Jews had been indoctrinated with; the only think that satisfied him was a true relationship with his heavenly Father. Jesus said that because the world hated him, it will also hate those who follow him (John 15:18-25). This is a cost we must count. If anyone is not prepared to be hated because they follow Jesus, they are not prepared to follow him. Let’s ask ourselves, “Am I willing to give up the amazing plan God has for me because I want people to like me? Am I more concerned about the approval of people than the approval of God?”
We allow ourselves to become like those in the world because we don’t want to be hated, but God’s word specifically says that those who are in Christ Jesus are to be different. “So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy as I am holy,” (1 Peter 1:13-16). Holy means “set apart.” Just as God is set apart and different in his thoughts and way than sinful humanity, so we must be set apart and different. If I accept salvation from Christ, but continue to live as I did before I knew him, I drag his sacrifice through the mud and hang him on the cross once again; his sacrifice means nothing to me.
Jesus came to give us victory. Let’s live in that victory and when we do, we will see his amazing plan for our lives unfold. Again, the gateway is narrow and few will ever find it (Matt. 7:13-14), but it is and will be so worth it when we see the outcome. You must sacrifice your apparent control (I use “apparent” purposefully because even if you think you are in control, you really are not), your desire to be liked, your dreams, your heart, mind, body, and soul in order to travel the narrow way. God promises that he will return 100 fold whatever you sacrifice for him, so don’t be afraid. Give him your all and he will give you infinitely more.