Do you love the Lord? Do you really? Do you love Him enough to sacrifice everything? Some may not hesitate to answer a resounding yes, proclaiming they would gladly die for the Lord. But what about your comforts, your home, your possessions, your friends, even your family. Are you willing to sacrifice your reputation? Are you willing to put yourself and all you have on the line for Him? (Matthew 19:21-24)
If so, then hold on, because Jesus warned we would be persecuted and hated for His name. (John 15:18-20) The early church knew this all too well. Hundreds suffered terrible deaths simply because they would not renounce their faith in Him. However, today Christians continue to adapt and meld with the culture around it. The church has long used such devices to make itself more attractive to the world. Lest you be quick to point the finger at progressive churches proclaiming, “Yes, but not my church.” Simply take a look into the traditions of the beloved holidays of Christmas or Easter and you will be quick to find the church has been melding with the culture to appease the senses of the world for centuries. This melding with the culture only creates a weak and diluted form of Christianity, one that is more and more concerned with what the world around believes and thinks than what He says. This creates a brittle faith, one that crumbles at the mere sight of opposition.
In spite of this, God is calling out to us to stand strong. (Ephesians 6:10-11) Does disappointing Him grieve your heart and send you to your knees in repentance? Do not mistake, I am not speaking of what we would consider grievous sins, such as lying, cheating, stealing, even gossiping. Those sins we readily condemn even if we know we are apt to commit them from time to time. No, does it grieve your heart when you realize you have failed Him in even the smallest ways? Perhaps, you spoke in anger to the driver who cut you off. Or maybe you failed to speak to the woman at the grocery store when the Lord was nudging you to talk with her. Do you not think even these seemingly small sins grieve Him? Some may say, “Well, I didn’t actually commit a sin.” However, that is not the point. The point is, does it grieve your heart to disappoint the Lord? If you truly love Him with your whole heart, mind, and strength, it should.
Others will proclaim, “But what about grace?” Yes, grace is a glorious gift from our Savior. One none of us deserves yet He freely gives. It is the reason we are able to live this life with a future hope for eternity. However, grace should not be abused. (Romans 6:1-2) We should not blindly convince ourselves that because grace is offered as a free gift, we should abuse it by grieving the heart of God.
Do not be deceived, sin does matter and sin does grieve the heart of God. If you love the Lord, you will do everything to avoid grieving the heart of God. You will long to sit in His presence soaking in His glory. You will cling to Him and His Word unwilling to miss His voice in any area of your life. You will gladly sacrifice everything to serve Him and please Him. He loves you with an unfathomable love and He, like a good parent, longs for your good. That does not mean that pain and heartache won’t follow. It is often through such pain and heartache that we are drawn closer to Him. However, if you love Him, your sole aim in life should be to please Him, no matter the cost.
Oh, that we would fall so in love with Him that we would lay down all we are to serve Him and the purposes He has for our lives. Imagine the church living in such a way! The impact that would have on our communities, our nation, the world. It would truly never be the same again. It would be a revolution that would shake our world. So what is the Lord asking you to do? What is that one area you know you haven’t fully surrendered to Him?
Oh, the fear and trembling those questions evoke. I know it wholeheartedly, as it has taken me months and years to finally step into what He has called me to do. It is a frightening thought to step out of our comfort and into what the Lord has for us. The fear of the unknown can be crippling. But when we draw closer to Him, we begin to know His heart. We begin to see the immense love He has for us. Once we are able to recognize this, how can we not lay down all we are in service to this God who became man to save us? As we draw nearer to Him, we begin to see and know how much He cares for us. How then can we not trust Him fully and begin to walk in the path He has planned for us?