Anyone who does not renounce everything cannot be Jesus’ disciple. This may feel like quite an extreme statement. But it is required of all believers. We don’t hear this very often even though it is a basic premise of real and true Christianity. Anything less than this is not really following Jesus.
Yes, renouncing everything is extreme. Leaving everything to follow Jesus is extreme. The requirement is a lot to take in no matter where we are in our walk with the Lord. As extreme as this may be, however, there is a blessing on the other end. When we voluntarily give everything that we love and care for over to the Lord, it is so freeing. Fear dissipates. Worry vanishes. Anxiety is done. We have “nothing” to lose, because we have given it all to the Lord, and everything is safely in His good hands. And He will look out for our best interests far better than we ever could.
So what does it look like to renounce all you have for Christ? The apostle Paul in his own personal circumstances said that he counted everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus. He counted everything as rubbish in order to gain Christ. Many centuries later, the great revivalist and preacher George Whitefield said it like this: “I am not mine, but His! I give up my body, soul, blood, all, to Him! I am a child! I desire to follow the Lamb withersoever He goeth” (as quoted by Arnold Dallimore in his biography George Whitefield, vol. 1, p. 93).
What would this look like for you? What would it look like to really let go of all you have into His hands?
Consider all your God has done for you. Now consider everything you have (which is nothing in comparison to all He has to give). Add up everything you own. Survey your “holdings.” Open your treasure chest. Look to see what is there. Evaluate your potential. Whatever it may be. Think about what you could do with it all. Then lay it all down before the Lord. Give it all over to Him. Trust Him with your finances. Trust Him with your situation. Trust Him with your life. Let Him do what only He can do with all of these things. And follow Jesus with absolute abandon. By His grace.
O Lord, please grant me the grace to love you above all things, to treasure you, to find all of my identity in you, and to submit all of my hopes and dreams to your wise care. Please help me to renounce everything, even the things I don’t know I cling to. Help me to entrust everything in my life into your wise and loving hands.
So often we think giving everything to the Lord means moving to a foreign country, wearing sandals, eating bugs, and wearing a burlap sack. And the Lord does call some people into situations like these. But the high price of discipleship doesn’t have to do with where we live in the world, what food we eat, or what clothes we wear or don’t wear. True discipleship can be consistent with many locations, diets, and modes of dress.
True discipleship is less about the externals and more about the internal. In fact, we can even excel at the outward actions and still not really understand true discipleship because true discipleship–discipleship everywhere it is truly found–has to do with the heart.
It is really quite amazing how many things we can give up, how many religious activities we can engage in, how many hours we can volunteer, days we can fast, dollars we can give, times we can evangelize, and mission trips we can go on and not ever really begin to be a disciple of Jesus. It is so much easier and less costly to do any or all of the above than to do what Jesus calls us to do which is to truly and deeply love Him more than anything and everything else.
Have you thought about the cost of following Jesus? Have you counted it all up and laid it all down at His feet? Maybe you have tried. Maybe you have spent the time to think it through, but when it came time to make a final decision you put it aside for another day. Why? Are you too busy? Are you afraid to really let go and surrender everything to the Lord because of the unknown? Fearful of what He might require of you?
Lord, I entrust my heart, my life, my future, my plans, my things, my very self to you. I place it all into your hands. I am yours. Help me be fully yours.
In Jesus’ name I pray,