March 12, 2016

Abandoned to Christ

Reading Oswald Chambers each morning is like hearing a mini-sermon. While some of his exhortations go over my head, and some of them seem to be based on the wrong verse, hearing another Christian’s view of things is necessary for good spiritual health. I have blind spots that need light from others, particularly those who take God seriously.

Today, Chambers writes about being abandoned to God. If that is not enough of a challenge, he also goes into the deepest motivations for wanting such a thing. Nearly four years ago, I asked God to get me to that place. Little did I realize the battle I would experience as He answered my request.

Today’s Scripture passage applies to what God has been doing in my life. Here is what it says . . .

And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” Peter began to say to him, “See, we have left everything and followed you.” Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” (Mark 10:23–31)

The first thing I noticed is that Peter claimed to have left everything to follow Jesus. In the beginning, I thought the same thing. However, I personalized Jesus’ challenge to describe my own situation and experiences . . .  

Jesus said to me, “How difficult it will be for you who has comfort, achievements, a good mind, abilities, and lots of self-interests to submit to the kingship of God!  . . . . Truly, I say to you, if you leave stability, all human dependencies, your rights to ownership, and all your own plans for my sake and for the gospel, you will receive joy, security, peace of mind — but with persecution, rejection and being misunderstood — and in the age to come eternal life.”

Chambers makes it clear: abandonment is to be one with God Himself, not for what I will get from it. I’m to beware of a commitment that smacks of “I am going to give myself to God because I want to be delivered from sin, because I want to be made holy . . . . I want myself clean and filled with the Holy Ghost. I want to be put in His showroom so I can say, ‘Look what God has done for me.’”

This is not abandonment but self-interest. Abandonment means leaving all self-interest and natural devotions. It may mean hurting those He calls me to abandon, at least in the sense of natural affections. Giving myself totally to Jesus Christ means I treat others as He does — with a sacrificial and unconditional love. He will ask me to care for others in ways contrary to my own plans.

When my heart is totally given to Christ, there is no chafing over the things left behind. Instead, I’m content, even with serving Him and others in ways that I would have avoided because they offered me nothing, and may even humiliate me. It also means I might not see any fruit in my own life or results in the lives of others, at least not until after I enter glory.

Jesus was fully surrendered to the divine will; being abandoned to God means being like Jesus.

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