~*Let’s get this out of the way. I am exactly 1.2% sorry for the language .*~
When I was on staff with Chi Alpha at the University of Alabama, I had the privilege to get to know so many amazing student leaders. One of them is a sophomore named Zach. He’s such a go getter, has a real servant heart, and is one of the most joyful people I have ever met. As a freshman, Zach was a little different though.
He started coming around second semester but didn’t seem to be too committed to giving everything to Jesus. After coming to services, small groups, and a couple prayer meetings, things started to change for Zach. Suddenly, at prayer meetings instead of asking for prayer for his tests, he began asking us to pray for other people and his family. Someone asked Zach what changed, his response has stuck with me. He said, “I guess it’s time I stop half-assing Christianity.”
How often do we all half-ass Christianity? Most of us would say, “Never! Jesus said he spits lukewarm out of his mouth” or something holy like that. Surely “good” Christians never give less than everything to Jesus.
But we do.
Maybe we don’t. I won’t speak for everyone. But I know I do. At least I have been.
For the past few months, and honestly probably before that, I have been holding things back from Jesus. I have been trying to play the role of someone living completely surrendered to the LORD. I was even fooling myself.
I went to church. I watched my language and read my Bible. I prayed and journaled. I talked about Jesus, was nice to my coworkers, and listened to worship music all the time. I did all the Jesus-y things. But my heart was holding things back.
After the end of my tenure with Chi Alpha, I was broken and battered. I was ready to move on. I convinced myself that I was done in ministry. I thought God was done with me, but I was also pretty done with ministry. It had hurt me, so I decided that I wouldn’t be a part of it anymore. I would still share the love of Jesus with people but only in a market place setting. I closed the door to ministry in my heart.
Luckily for me, the LORD has been gently reminding me of who I am.
I was listening to a song the other day, and there is a part of that says “Oh God here am I; send me. Use me for Your glory.” As I was singing along, I heard the Lord very gently ask “Whose glory do you really want to be used for? Mine or yours?” I was taken off guard as the conviction sank in. I repented and told the Lord I wanted to be used for His glory. I told Him all about how I wanted to be used to spend His love in athletics or whatever job He put me in.
The next line of that song goes “Oh God, here am I; send me. Pick me up and write your story.” A few days later, I was listening to that song. As I sang out those words, the Lord spoke gently again, “Whose story?” I thought I had this one, so I responded “Your story, Lord. Let me write your story in the market place. Let me write your story however you want me to.” And then I heard the words that cut my heart to the core.
” Except if that means full time ministry?” The Lord’s question was so gentle, but so powerful. I was shocked and suddenly ashamed. I had said that I had given my life to God to do what He wants, but I had placed all these stipulations on what that could look like. I want to write your story, but only if I have total control over what that looks like.
Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. – Deuteronomy 6:5
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.” – Matthew 22:37-38
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”– John 14:15
By trying to decide what my role would look like, I was no longer telling God’s story. I was writing my own. God did not call me to ministry, and then suddenly change His mind. Even if He did, who am I to close that door? Who am I to tell God that I can write His story better than He can? That exactly what I was doing when I closed my heart to full time ministry. That’s exactly what all of us are doing anytime we close doors God has not closed for us.
I cannot love the LORD with all my heart, soul, and strength and tell Him that I won’t do what He is asking me. It says ALL. That means with everything I love Him which means nothing can be off limits. Whenever I find myself closed off to an opportunity that could bring me closer to Jesus, I have to realize that I’m half-assing Christianity. And if you’re honest with yourself, many of you are too.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that everyone needs to be in full time vocational ministry, but if that’s not even an option to you, that’s a problem. Not everyone needs to move across the ocean to spread the Gospel, but if that’s not something you would be willing to do, that’s a problem. It’s about giving your life completely to Jesus, not making everyone a pastor. If your life belongs to Jesus, He calls the shots. And you? You obey.
The same day that my heart got cut by the Lord’s question, he spoke again. He said, ” You said your life was mine to do with what I wish. You wanted to be used for my glory. I took your life because you gave it to me. I will give it back if that’s what you want. But if your life is mine, then follow me. Let me lead.” I don’t want my life back. I want to follow Jesus completely surrendered.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”- Matthew 28:19-20
I want to write His story, and He gets to decide what that looks like. So wherever He wants me, that’s where I want to be.
If that’s in Sri Lanka, here am I; send me. If that’s in Canada, here am I; send me. If it’s in Syria, here am I; send me. If it’s North Carolina, here am I; send me. If it’s in Laos,here am I; send me. If it’s in North Little Rock,here am I; send me.
LORD, if You gave Your life to love them, so will I. No matter what that looks like because in the words of Zach,”I guess it’s time I stop half-assing Christianity.”