Jesus doesn’t want you to be his acquaintance. He wants much more than that. Acquaintances keep terms and conditions. What Jesus wants (and deserves) is to have friends unequivocally devoted to him.
Video provided by Igniter Media
Being a Christian isn’t about obeying Jesus sometimes, in some places, at minimal cost, to do some things. Jesus did not come to serve but to serve, paying the ultimate cost to save us. At all times, he did exactly as his Father desired, at all times, in all places, at all costs. In the same way, we’re asked to give up everything to follow and serve him anytime, anywhere, at any cost, to do anything.
Surrender. Why do we often see that word in a negative light? Maybe it all depends on the definition we have of it. When we view it as living by a set of don’ts, surrender isn’t fun at all. But God’s definition is quite different. Surrendering to God means laying down our life and our plans and embracing God’s perfect, good, and agreeable will for us (Romans 12.1-2).
Here’s another word: Adoption. How do you feel about that word? For most people it evokes images of belonging and acceptance. We picture a child finally finding a home and being loved unconditionally, once again able to hope for the future.
Surrender isn’t about giving up everything; it’s about leaving behind what is unnecessary or harmful to gain what’s most valuable. Topping the list of benefits is adoption and a brand new life of purpose and meaning in God’s family.
At the beginning of his Gospel, John describes surrendering our lives to Jesus this way:
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God (John 1:12).
To receive Jesus requires a surrendering of our will to him. It’s not enough just to give intellectual assent to a list of Gospel facts. James 2:19 says, You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that — and shudder. That’s quite the sobering thought!
Believing is a Total Committment
The word “believe” in the New Testament carries three meanings:
- Agreeing with your mind.
- Trusting with your heart.
- Committing your whole life.
Imagine a person receiving a check for $1,000,000 and then placing it on the mantle above their fireplace just to look at it. Every day, they pass by and admire it; and when company is coming over, it even gets a good dusting. But they miss out on so much because they never actually take it to the bank and deposit it. When we stop short of committing our whole life to Jesus, we never experience the wonderful benefits of being intimate friends with Jesus.
Where are you at with Jesus today? If you find yourself just being acquaintances with Jesus, make the choice today to discover what it’s like to be his fully committed friend. Don’t try to clean yourself up first. It’s his job to forgive you and purify you of all your sins (1 John 1.9). But he does expect you to receive him as your King, and that means deciding to entrust your whole life to him.
*This explanation of the Greek word for believe (πιστεuω) has been adapted from H.H. Hobbs, a Baptist theologian who lived in the early 1900s.