Would it surprise you to know that Jesus demands that you give Him everything?
Can you even believe or begin to grasp that He actually asks us to give up everything in order to follow him?
I can imagine that some of us may even wonder, perhaps even in a legalistic way, what exactly he asks for when he talks about giving everything up.
I will admit, that personally this is one of the most difficult things for me to do and understand. But let’s walk together through some of the passages where He asks people to give everything up.
In Matthew 19:20-22, a rich man asked Him what else he could do to become a better person. As someone who had followed all of the laws since his youth, Jesus told him to do more than follow the law – that he should give up all his possessions, sell them, and give to the poor.
Jesus saw a need for this man to truly love and express that love to his neighbor, but sadly this was something that this rich man could not do.
In Luke 5, and in Matthew 4, there are two slightly different accounts of how Jesus calls His first disciples. But despite the differences, both gospels agree that when they were called by Him, they left everything.
It’s easy to imagine them leaving their boats, their nets, their fisherman’s tools, as these are all possessions that they cannot take with them if they were to follow Jesus. But Matthew shows something else that was left behind – in verse 22, it says that they left the boat and their father. To follow Him, they had to give up possessions and even family.
In Luke 14:25-35, Jesus gives us an idea of why He asks us to give everything up for Him. Here he basically says, “Here. This is what it costs to follow me. Everything. You can may lose your possessions. You may lose your family. You may lose everything. And if you’re ready and willing to do that, you can follow me.”
And through all of this, as He asks us to follow Him, as He asks us to be ready to give Him everything we have, He asks us to submit our will to His. After all, how can we truly follow Him if we don’t actually follow His will?
It is this struggle that I find most difficult, and I can imagine it’s a struggle that many Christians are familiar with. Possessions are almost easy to give up. Relationships are more difficult, but it is possible. But giving up ourselves, our will, our desires, that’s something that He wants, and something Christians need to struggle to do.
But as we struggle day to day, and as we submit ever more to His will and His commandments, His will becomes more and more evident in us, and we become more and more like Him – and the struggle to give everything up to Him becomes less of a struggle, and more of a release to the One who unconditionally loves us.