So we’re at the end of a decade. Or the beginning, whichever way you see it. 2020. Did you know we’re five years past the setting of Back To The Future 2? Where’s the hoverboards all over the place, the flying cars, and the pizza hydrating machine? Probably some things have not happened that we thought were going to or we planned to happen. Right? Not being a Debbie Downer; just being real. Now, if you’re one of those people who consistently fails to reach your goals, it may be that you see setting the goals as the whole process, rather than just a part of the process. Setting goals is essential, but unless you take action to achieve the goal, it will never truly be a goal, just a dream. I heard it said that a goal is a dream with a deadline. Setting a deadline for the achievement of your goal is another critical step in the process, but unless you strive to meet the deadline, you are still just dreaming. Read the letter of James and put some action behind your faith and good ideas.
But look, I’m not going to write another blog on “The Seven Steps To Living The Holy Life You’ve Always Dreamed”. If you have good goals you are shooting for, more power to you. I do, however, want to call attention to what should be the most important thing to a follower of Jesus: our relationship with Him. So…don’t straddle the fence. I think most probably understand that saying. You can’t play both sides. You can’t say you’re with God and also for the world. You can’t hang out on the top of the fence with one foot on each side. It never turns out good in the funny home video of the person doing it. Jesus drew the line for us. Luke 11:23 says, “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.”
There is no neutral ground
Jesus made it abundantly clear how He felt. There is no neutral ground. C. S. Lewis echoed this when he said, “There is no neutral ground in the universe. Every square inch, every split second is claimed by God, and counterclaimed by Satan.” So Jesus’ call is for us who claim to want to follow Him, to be all in. Three different guys at one point all asked to follow Him. In Luke 9:57-62 records this. “As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, ‘I will follow you wherever you go.’ Jesus replied, ‘Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.’ He said to another man, ‘Follow me.’ But he replied, ‘Lord, first let me go and bury my father.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.’ Still another said, ‘I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.’ Jesus replied, ‘No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.’”
Let’s be honest, some in the church today would’ve told those guys a much easier message than what Jesus did.
One thing is needed
In Luke 10, Jesus was at the home of Martha who was extremely busy getting things ready. But she didn’t have the help she wanted. “Jesus, make my sister help!” The problem for Martha was that her sister, Mary, was just sitting at the feet of Jesus. “Do I have to do everything while she just sits there being lazy?” Jesus didn’t give her the answer she was prodding for. “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” One thing is needed.
On a similar occasion, Jesus was approached by a rich young ruler. This man seems to have a resume that would make him a shoe-in for Heaven. I know churches who fight over this guy. But Jesus again opens the controversy. “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” The young man didn’t like the answer, judging by the fact that he walked away sad. You still lack one thing. To be clear, this isn’t a universal principle Jesus was making about entrance into Heaven. This man’s money and possessions were his hindrance, his issue, his idol that he had elevated above God.
So the one thing Martha needed and the one thing the rich young ruler lacked was placing Jesus above everything. Jesus clearly showed us there is no neutral ground and we can’t be partly in. It’s not like giving Him 51% controlling interest of you as a company and saying you’re all in. So what’s the one thing? All out, complete devotion to Him. It’s making everything else secondary and resting in His presence by giving Him everything. That’s the type of resolutions we need to be making and committing to. “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.”