Saturday, 29 August 2020

All or Nothing

God would rather us be totally indifferent towards Him than half-hearted for Him. We are either in or out, hot or cold, against Him or for Him. There is no middle ground with God.

Last week one of our friends told us about a rebuke he had had from the Lord. He said that when he was working and juggling his time between home and work, he would seek God, he would hear from Him and rely on Him for everything, but since he had retired, he had become more comfortable, enjoying the lockdown, enjoying being home with his wife and had almost got into a kind of ‘holiday mode’. He said he was still reading the word, studying it with his wife and praying, but not with the same vigour as before. He said God reminded Him of the scripture in Revelation 3:15 in the letter to the church in Laodicea which says:  I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!

This got me thinking about something that came to me some years back, about how we can treat Jesus as just a good neighbour. With a good neighbour, you know he is there when you need him. You are aware of his presence in the house next door but you won’t disturb him unless it’s absolutely necessary. When he comes and knocks the door and we are in the middle of something we deem important, we will maybe have a short polite chat and try not to look impolite enough to show that we want to get back to what we were doing, before he turned up. Sometimes we may let him in, we may give him a cup of tea and a cake, we may have a chat with him, even a heart to heart, telling him our innermost fears, but then he goes home again until the next time. Jesus doesn’t want us to treat Him like that.

We live in a time when many people think they are Christians when they just give the Lord a few hours a week. They think they can do what they want for the rest of the week. However, when Jesus tells us to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength” He did not mean it as a suggestion–but a command. As someone has aptly put it, "Christ must be Lord of all or He is not Lord at all." In Matthew 6:24 Jesus said: "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon" 

W.J Sparrow-Simpson puts it like this in the hymn:


All for Jesus, all for Jesus,

all our talents and our powers,

all our thoughts and words and actions,

all our passing days and hours.


Going back to the letter to Laodicea in Revelation 3:16 it says: So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth. I wish you were either one or the other!” 

God would rather us be totally indifferent towards Him than half-hearted for Him. We are either in or out, hot or cold, against Him or for Him. There is no middle ground with God.

We might think that half-hearted devotion is better than no devotion at all, but it isn’t. If we’re cold we are cold, if we are hot, we are hot, but, if we are lukewarm, we think we are doing enough but we are not. If we are lukewarm, we can be a bad witness. If we are cold, we are not claiming to be a Christian. We may not be living a life pleasing to God but at least we are not leading someone astray by claiming to follow Christ. But if we are lukewarm, we are probably living a lifestyle that doesn’t reflect that. We can’t sit on the fence. It is distasteful to the Lord. Christianity isn’t for bargain hunters. It is not for people who want all the blessings of heaven, but with the least amount of sacrifice possible.  It’s for people who are willing to surrender all. 

Surrender is an act of will. Oswald Chambers says we must deliberately commit our will to Jesus Christ.  He says it is a transaction of the will, not of emotion. We have to choose whom we will serve. It is all or nothing with Jesus. He demands to be our number one priority. When we consider what He did for us on the cross, doesn’t He deserve to be first in our lives? Romans 8:32 says: Since He did not spare even his own Son but gave Him up for us all, won’t He also give us everything else? Imagine you gave away to a friend an item you found valuable and immensely useful and then found out they only used it on the odd occasion. How disappointed you would be. How disappointed God must be when we are not using what He gives us to its full potential.

Matthew 10:38-39 says: 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.

At the end of the same passage in the letter to Laodicea, Revelation 3 20-22 says: Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

This passage has often been used as to depict Jesus knocking on the heart of non- believers and asking to come in, but in the bible, it is at the end of a passage where the church of Laodicea is being told it is neither hot nor cold. He is knocking on the door of those who are lukewarm and saying, ‘Let me in and I will eat with you’ He wants to be in our hearts at all times not just some of the time. Obedience to God is the only way to experience true blessing. Let us heed the rebuke that the Lord gave our friend, as he has done, to open the door and let our Lord in, to eat with us, for ever.



Author: Thelma Cameron 

May God bless and enrich your life

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