So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.
I’m confident that I didn’t understand all that was required when I came to faith in Christ at the young age of six. All I knew at that time was that I wanted the benefit of knowing for sure I’d be in heaven one day. I had no clue what Jesus was demanding from me if I was to be a follower of His, and not sure a six year old even can really comprehend all the implications of surrendering a life to a God who requires everything from me. Renouncing everything then and now—all my dreams, all my plans for life, all my money, all my comforts, all my security, all my possessions, all of me. Even a quick glance at even a few passages in the Gospels will lead to an understanding as to why so many people turned away when Jesus listed what was required to be a follower of His. Following Jesus is so much more than praying some superstitious sinner’s prayer, hoping to get out of hell. If that’s all there is to following Jesus, well, then that’s a cheap Gospel. In fact, based on scripture, that’s a false Gospel. The true and and Biblical Gospel calls for unconditional complete abandonment of all that I am and all that I have for all that He is and all He’s done. Plain and simple, that’s it. It’s all or nothing.
I was reminded again recently of a quote from Jonathan Edwards that speaks to this subject. I’ve been encouraged and challenged when I read this, and desire to confidently say in unison with Edwards, “I have given myself wholly to Him”. So easy to say, but an entirely different thing to actually do. The demands of Jesus are heavy and costly. But in light of what Jesus did at the cross, no matter what He demands, He’s so obviously worth it.
“I claim no right to myself—no right to this understanding, this will, these affections that are in me; neither do I have any right to this body or its members—no right to this tongue, to these hands, feet, ears, or eyes.
I have given myself clear away and not retained anything of my own. I have been to God this morning and told Him I have given myself wholly to Him. I have given every power, so that for the future I claim no right to myself in any respect. I have expressly promised Him, for by His grace I will not fail. I take Him as my whole portion and felicity, looking upon nothing else as any part of my happiness. His law is the constant rule of my obedience.
I will fight with all my might against the world, the flesh, and the devil to the end of my life. I will adhere to the faith of the Gospel, however hazardous and difficult the profession and practice of it may be.
I pray God for the sake of others, to look upon this as a self-dedication, and receive me as His own. Henceforth, I am not to act in any respect as my own. I purpose to be absolutely His.” – Jonathan Edwards