I don't remember how old I was when I gave my life to Christ. I grew up going to church, in a Christian family. I remember as a child praying to God late at night when I was scared. I would pray that He would keep my home safe, and I had no doubt that He would, and so I would fall asleep easily knowing that I was safe.
In middle school, I know that I made the choice to go farther with my relationship with God. He became the King of my life. I wanted to follow Him wherever He might lead me. The summer after ninth grade, I surrendered myself entirely to Him, whatever and wherever that might mean. See, God doesn't tell us to just believe in Him. Of course, He does want us to do so. But He calls us to surrender our entire lives to Him, and I think anyone who has been to church enough will have heard that passage referenced.
"If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." Matthew 16:24
It becomes easy to pass over. God wants all of us. He doesn't want us to do things 90% His way, and then 10% our own. It's 100% His way. And that is hard. When I surrender what I, a very flawed human, want, that means that God leads me to what He wants. And it can be heart wrenching to sacrifice things that you love, things that are good things in and of themselves, for Him.
God has called me. It's in a direction that I want to go, and fulfills passions that He has placed in my heart. Only, I would prefer to do it my way. I would rather a way that has far more security, stability, notoriety, prestige, and comforts. I'll go there, God. I'm excited to go there for You. But I want to do it like this, okay?
That's not what God wants though. He wants me to follow Him only and entirely. I was reading about Saul recently, in 1 Samuel. God commands Saul to do something, and he does it. Except part of it, he does his own way. Saul's way wasn't of itself a bad thing, but when it goes against what God was telling Saul to do, God says that it was "evil" (1 Samuel 15:19). God removes Saul as king of Israel because he only followed God halfway. When I read that, I was convicted. I was leading a Bible study, explaining a passage, and my own words convicted me. I am imperfect, guys. I deserve to be rejected just as Saul was, because my heart, my flesh, want to take me on a path that I'm more comfortable with instead of God's path. But God is so good to me, guys.
I came to Him, upset and confused and irritated that I had to give up this thing, too. Really, God? How much will I have to give up? How many things?
All of them. He tells us to die to ourselves (Galatians 2:20). To hate our mother and father compared to how much we love Him (Luke 14:26). To take up our crosses, the instruments of our own torture, and follow Him (luke 9:23-24). He tells us that the road will be hard, that it will be narrow, and few will find it (Matthew 7:14). But a life with God as King is the only way to truly live. God is the only One worth giving up my entire life for.
Some will call this foolishness. Others, delusion. Some, perhaps, brave or noble to do something for a good cause. But it is God in me. Though it may seem ridiculous to the world to go down a path that seems less safe, or less stable, with more unknowns, and far fewer comforts, it is really the only way.
Christ is the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6). He has saved me. He has loved me and redeemed me and held me and comforted me, despite my wicked heart. He has given me breath and joy and peace and hope and a future. So I will give Him my short time on earth. After all, could there be anything better than a life lived for something beyond my own pleasure? What is better than a life lived for the One who created me and saved me and loves me more than anyone else ever can? What is better than knowing that someday, I will sit at His feet, and someday, I will worship with the multitudes of believer from every tribe, nation, and tongue, all praising Him in one voice.
Worthy is the Lamb.