Jesus replied:, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind” (Matthew 22:37 NIV).
Friend to Friend
To excel at any sport requires each competitor to learn the true meaning of abandonment. Becoming a champion demands the commitment to live every part of life straining toward that objective.
Excellence always requires sacrifice, discipline, and a willingness to pay an enormous price. Our son, Jered, was a college football player who learned that to be the best player he could be meant he had to throw himself into weight training, personal discipline, and mental readiness. It takes a cavernous commitment and a willing abandonment to reach that goal of excellence.
Jered had a great role model in his friend, Russell, a young man who really did not have the physical size to execute the position he played on the football field. As a linebacker, he readily admitted that there were other players on the team with superior ability as well as greater strength. But Russell was a “play maker” who could change the entire momentum of the game with one electric play. The coaches said Russell’s success was the result of his total willingness to abandon himself every time he stepped onto the football field. If you asked Russell the secret of his success he would say that anytime you approached the game with that kind of abandonment, something great was bound to happen.
Our life journey is much the same.
Jesus wants us to come to Him with total abandon. In Matthew 22:37 Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind” (NIV). In other words, we must lay down everything! Every thought – every emotion – every bit of knowledge – our past, present, and future – just like the woman who brought the alabaster jar of perfume to anoint Jesus’ feet (Luke 7:37b).
Alabaster was a soft stone imported from Egypt into Palestine. Light and creamy in color, it was especially popular for storing perfume and ointments. The jar was small, fitting easily into the palm of the hand.
Alabaster jars were very common and of little value. It was the substance hidden inside that was so valuable. The perfume was the woman’s most precious possession, very expensive but very necessary in her line of work. She was a prostitute, working the streets, selling her body in order to live. The money that was given to her by the men she slept with paid for the perfume she brought to Jesus.
She could have put a small amount on the feet of Jesus, and it would have been a great financial sacrifice. But she brought it all and she gave it all. She came, totally abandoning herself and all that she had to Him. “Abandon” means “without restraint or hindrance, a total relinquishment.” This woman came to Jesus, walking through her fear, ignoring the hindrances, and relinquishing her old way of life. She must have ignored the ugly whispers and judgmental stares, struggling with her own guilt and self-condemnation.
Why did she come? I believe she was exhausted, weary of living … tired of being used, unloved and unwanted. She was desperate; ready to give up everything for the forgiveness and rest only Jesus could provide. She came to the One who spoke these words of healing and hope in Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” This woman was looking for a place of rest, a place she could call home. She found that place at the feet of Jesus Christ.
Today Jesus is calling us to that same kind of abandonment. As we place our trust completely in Him and come with total abandonment – we will begin to experience the power an intimate relationship with Him can bring.
The world says we lose when we surrender, but in God’s economy, surrender to Him gives birth to a life of purpose and power.
Lord, I come to You – giving my all. I am holding nothing back, Lord. I am so weary, tired of trying to live life my way. Right now, I lay down my agenda, surrendering completely to You. Will You raise up what is of You and let fall away what is not.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
What does it mean to offer your body as a “living sacrifice”? Are you ready to make that commitment?
More from the Girlfriends
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G.I.G, blessings to you for this morning’s devotional. I’ve already re-read it twice because the following words seem to reach for me…
God-willing this Feb 5th will be a new decade of life for me and I desire to experience purpose and power and to say, “I love my life!” THANK YOU for today’s devotional and others that resound with me. ~Maxine
It’s earthshaking. Soul changing. It turns the worlds “wisdom” on its head—this concept, this truth of giving all, of surrendering oneself in order to gain all. Over and over again in the scriptures, this truth is stated and emphasized. Weakness is strength. Humility brings honor. Power flows when one’s own lesser, human efforts are made subject to something much greater. Childlike faith is rewarded more than a PhD. Poverty—willingness to forsake everything of material value—brings wealth. Foolishness in the world’s eyes is the wisdom that taps into the transcendent. It goes on and on. They seem like impossible paradoxes, but they are rock-solid truths.
Yet. Do we avail ourselves of these constants of God’s Word? I have to confess: well, some of them, some of the time. Some are forgotten for a while, while others are willingly pushed aside and I’m afraid to bring them to mind…until, God does it for me, and there it is, right in my face. Then it’s my option to repent. Do I? Always? Well… Oh, dear; I’m only human…
I remember when I was in college I was in a Christian music group. At various times, some of us would give our “testimonies.” Often, one of the young men would state that, until he gave God 100%… That’s all I need to quote. 100%? Is that humanly possible? Can I give it all like that? And, do I condemn myself for my failures while I ponder this? No, that won’t help anyone!
Thanks, Mary, for bringing this question—this challenge—to the forefront.