(Image courtesy of http://www.evilcrayon.com.)

Only a few short months ago I was finishing up teaching my third year in Bolivar, Tennessee.  Looking back, I am thankful for the time God allowed me to spend there.  I met some incredible people who sharpened me, encouraged me, and became great friends.

One of these people was a man older than myself who taught geometry across the hall.  We would share in the frustrations of the day together and even broke up a fight between two
girls once together, but also were able to encourage one another in the Lord as well.  On one particular day, Mr. Beaver made a comment to me that has since stuck out in my mind.  His comment was concerning our "part-time worship" of God.

Think about it.  Are you giving God part-time worship?

It was convicting for me to think about it.  Was I only giving God half of my heart throughout the day, desiring other possessions or relationships the rest of the time?

Was I giving God only part of my time, focusing on the material, fleeting things of this life the majority of the day?

Was I withholding resources from God when He deserved complete rights?

Am I all in?  Or am I only going part way in, holding onto some security and safety for myself, not willing to trust God fully?  After all, you can't fully trust God right?  I mean, He may ask me to give up my smart phone or move me to the inner city or something.  (I'm being serious.)

Over the last couple weeks, I have gone through an intense time of questioning and answering.  Two weeks ago, as I gorged myself on Paul Washer sermons and George Muller's diary and weighed what I had learned from them with the Words of Jesus, I was given a burden and a desire for my life that I had not fully known before.  After a few days and much debate with those closest to me, a final question emerged from the pile of knowledge I was unearthing: "What does a life fully trusted unto God look like?"  In other words, what does a life wholly worshiping God look like?  (Enough of this part-time stuff, I want it all!)

But as I wrestled to find the answer, I suddenly felt it was impossible to do this.  So I gave up.  I gave up my search for the answer.  I got angry.  I figuratively kicked Jesus to the curb and allowed bitterness to flood my soul.  I grew increasingly short-tempered with my wife and those around me.  I didn't want to struggle anymore with the burden that was given to me.  For a week I did this.  But then, when I wasn't even searching for it, I had the answer thrust upon me: "To live a life fully trusted unto God is to be fully emptied of yourself."

This answer may come as no great theological statement to you, but meditate on it and you will find that this question and its answer go far, far, far back in time - all the way to the Garden of Eden.

What did Adam and Eve want in the Garden?  Control.  They wanted to know good and evil; they wanted to live forever.  But they didn't want to do it God's way.  They wanted to do it their own way.

Now fast forward through all of human history.  What is the chiefest problem of man?  We want it our way.  In other words, sin - rebellion against God.  God says, "Here is My Way" and we say, "Nope, I'll try this.  Don't tell me what to do, God."

But don't take my word for it!  Look for yourself in Luke 9:23-24: "And He said to all, 'If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.  For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.'"  Literally, Jesus is saying, "Come to me and die.  Then I will live through you."

It doesn't take long for the Holy Spirit to fill you up.  At the snap of His finger, God can send His Holy Spirit on you so fast, you'll be speaking Mandarin Chinese and you won't even know what hit you.  The hardest part of living the Christian life is the preparation to be filled with the Spirit.  The emptying of yourself - the dying - is the hardest.

In closing, look at the story of Peter.  Peter claimed to Jesus, "Lord, even if all the rest of Your followers desert You, I will not.  I will fight for You!"  Jesus turned to him and said, "Peter, Peter... before the rooster crows tonight, you will have denied me three times."  Peter didn't believe it, but it was true.  Afterward, he went outside and wept bitterly, utterly and completely broken, emptied of his own strength and self-determination.  Then, and only then, did Jesus fill him up with the Holy Spirit.  (Read about the Holy Spirit's work in Peter throughout the entire book of Acts.)

I don't want my life to be a part-time, half-hearted offering to the Lord of all creation.  I've never known anyone who put one foot in the coffin and then wheeled around with the rest of their body hanging out of a wooden box for the remainder of their life.  No, when you're dead, you're dead.  There is no going back.  So let me, then, die, so that Christ may live in me.

Lord Jesus, my Spirit - which is the same Spirit You possess - is willing, but my body is oh so weak.  Please, Father, help me put to death my earthly desires every day, and graciously allow Your Holy Spirit to fill me up so that I can offer my whole body as a living sacrifice to You.  Amen.