“God gave His best, His Son, to me; and I give back my best, my all, to Him.” – John G. Paton
If you went out to a popular place, say, a park, a busy mall..even Wal-Mart or your local grocery story, and asked people if they were a Christian, most of them would probably say yes. I’ve found that when I’ve asked people this question, they normally say something along the lines of “I believe in God.” but really, that doesn’t equal Christianity. Most people, I’d say 50% of a large group, would say they either believe in God or claim to be a Christian, but many of these people are false converts. God says that we can tell them by their fruits. For instance, if you see a person who claims to have been saved recently but you never saw a change (example: perhaps they kept the same group of ungodly friends, they continued having sex outside of marriage, getting drunk, going to sinful parties, etc, despite knowing that those things are sinful and God does not approve.) or even an ounce of repentance, these people will certainly seem like false converts. Then, there’s another group of people. Backsliders. You can be saved and be living a sinful lifestyle. God doesn’t take salvation away from us, even though some of us truly deserve it by the way we’ve acted. Think of the prodigal son, who once lived a good life but then left the father and went to the world. He did eventually repent, as we know, and the father accepted him and welcomed him back, just as God will do for us when we repent. We see examples of backsliding Christian’s all throughout scripture. Remember King David, a man after God’s own heart, who frequently deserted the Lord. Not only did he commit sexually immoral acts, but he also lied often and basically murdered a man just to cover his own sin. He was prideful at times, and very rash. He did things without thinking. Think of Revelation 2, when, in verse 4, we hear that the church of Ephesus left their first love.
Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. – Revelation 2:4
I could go on and list several other Christians, both in scripture and modern life, who backslid. I could tell you all about the times that I have personally backslid. But I want us to think on this. These Christians understood scripture (goodness, think of the close relationship that David had with God!) and knew God, and they still left Him. If you are saved, God will bring you back. If you refuse to repent even after He demands that you do so, He will punish you, just as He punished David. The Bible is extremely clear on what He will do to someone who is a stumbling block, and backsliding Christians are a huge stumbling block to nonbelievers and new Christians. These people knew what salvation is because they held it in their hands. They knew what grace is because grace had saved their souls. They knew who God is because they were once close to Him. They knew how precious His love is because they felt it. Yet they still could not be content. They missed the world, and despite all of those things, His love, His grace, His mercy, they could not give Him their all.
I want to ask you..what are you giving to God?
He gives us spiritual gifts so we can use them, not so we can let them sit unused. He gives us opportunities to follow His will. He gives us scripture so that we may hear Him. He allows us to have close prayer with Him so that we might know His plans for us, but are we readily accepting His plans? Are we following His path? Are we following Him? What are you giving to God? Are you willing to give up your cozy life if He calls you to be a missionary somewhere? Are you willing to live a life of sacred singleness if that is His will? Are you willing to be a homemaker? A preacher? A teacher? Are you willing to open up a ministry that you feel He is calling you towards? Are you willing to witness to that precious lost soul? Are you willing to die for Him? Are you willing to preach His Gospel even if it means you lose a few friends?
Are you giving Him your all? Everything? Because He gave you His all. He gave you His son.
I know so many people, whether they are backslidden Christians or they were never saved at all (false converts.) is for God to know, not for my knowledge, but we will know that they are one of the two, who are giving God a tiny little fraction of their lives. They are giving Him 1%, and they are giving themselves the rest. These people refuse to give up ungodly things, or make anything about Him and not about them. They want to worship their own way (to please their flesh as opposed to pleasing God.) and they want to pray their way. (Short prayers, so they aren’t bored, mostly centered around what God can do for them as opposed to what they can do for God.) They probably see these situations like the Target/bathroom ordeal and they understand what scripture says about these things but still, they refuse to give up Target because they like the products more than they desire to stand up for Jesus. They are voting for our president based on their own worldly ideas (because we want free everything in this country now, instead of working for things.) instead of asking themselves…is this candidate Godly? Are they even remotely Godly? Are they standing up for the unborn? Do they support homosexuality? Do they support Christians? God? The Bible? And, to make this a bit more scriptural as opposed to political, they care more about pleasing their flesh and having their ears tickled rather than living solely for God. Like the prodigal son, they are bored by the father and his life, and they want more of the world, even if they have to leave the father behind in order to get what they want.
They don’t want to give up drinking, or sinful music, or sex, or porn, or whatever else it is that they enjoy because that seems too difficult, too boring. They don’t want to give God their all.
So again, I ask you, what are you giving God? Are you saving your best self for God? When you go to witness (here’s hoping that you do!) are you happy to be sharing it? Are you full of zeal? When you go to church, are you excited to be hearing His word? Or are you sleeping in the pew? Or are you giving your best self to the world, happily participating in their activities?
Listen up, if you aren’t giving Him your all, you will not be effective. The world isn’t going to be shaken up by a watered down Gospel preached by a lukewarm Christian! The sinners aren’t going to listen to a lukewarm Christian! Why would they give their lives to Jesus and repent when they look at us and see no passion? No fire for God? No zeal? Why would they want to experience salvation if we seem so lackluster? Why would they want to repent if they see us and think it’s not necessary? If you are saved, then start acting like it! Act like a Christian, not a lost sinner. Give God everything you have so you don’t become a stumbling block and cause others to doubt God. If we, Christians who fully believe that He died for us, aren’t willing to give up our sinful pleasures for Him, the world will see us and laugh. They won’t be changed. They won’t be impacted or moved or convicted!
God has a plan for all of us, and He requires that we decrease so that He may increase. If we are hoarding sins and refusing to let go of things, even if they aren’t really sinful (example: putting your job above God and His missions, or even putting a spouse or mission work above Christ Himself! These things like careers and spouses and friends aren’t bad per say, but anything can become an idol!) we must let go of idols in order to follow Him. We can not see His plan if we are too busy making our own! Christian, God is calling you. He has an amazing job set aside for you. So make sacrifices, remember His sacrifice, and give Him your all.