Individuals not wholly sold out to God have a difficult time understanding the notion of giving God free reign of their hearts. To such individuals it is perfectly reasonable, and even generous on their part to offer God half, three quarters, or even 80% of their hearts, reserving a piece, a slice, a little alcove for themselves, for their predilections, proclivities, or passions.
Because these individuals do not understand that serving God is an all or nothing proposition, they find ways of excusing sin in their lives, they find ways of excusing compromise in their lives, and they find ways of excusing duplicity in their lives.
The prism through which men perceive service toward God determines whether or not they will dedicate their all to Him, or feel as though they are doing Him a favor if they acknowledge Him from time to time, as long as He doesn’t inconvenience them too terribly.
I’ve said this before, but it bears mentioning it again, God is not interested having roommates. God is not interested in sharing the space of your heart with anything else that isn’t Him, and because He is God, He can do that. It is God’s prerogative to demand exclusivity to your heart. It is God’s prerogative to expect that once you invite Him to move in, every other tenant must move out.
Anything less than that, anything less than God being solitary on the throne of your heart is self-delusion, and self-deception.
Man, in his hubris, has been trying to put God in a box since the beginning of creation. No matter how hard we try, no matter how many mental aerobics and theological machinations we seem to put ourselves through, we never quite succeed, and God remains God, His nature remains ever the same, and those who boldly claim that God has changed and now embraces the darkness as though it were light are proven fools and liars eventually .
What does this have to do with Peter’s first epistle? Well, everything. Peter was attempting to prepare the household of faith for what was about to come upon it. I believe wholeheartedly that Peter receive revelation of what was to transpire, of the hardships and trials the church would have to go through, and inspired of the Holy Spirit, Peter writes to the church and tells them that without being sanctified, without giving God free reign of one’s heart, we have no hope of enduring to the end, and overcoming as we ought.
How can today’s church hope to endure hardship, trials, tribulations, persecution and even martyrdom if we are unwilling or unable to do away with the sins, vices, and predilections we hold close to our bosom?
I realize the following will come across like a lead balloon, but if you can’t break ties with your sin, if you can’t break ties with your addiction, if you can’t break ties with your lust, you will never have the strength and wherewithal to stand for the name Jesus in the face of certain death.
If we can’t live for Christ, we will never be willing to die for Him.
As the old adage so aptly puts it, ‘dying is easy…it’s the living that’s hard.’
It is only when we’ve surrendered our all, when there is nothing left to give, nothing left to surrender, nothing left to lay on the altar, that we can, with certainty, declare our unshakeable faithfulness to He who was faithful, no matter what the future might hold. If there are still things we are holding onto, if there are still vices, if there are still unconfessed sins, if there is still pride, then when we say we surrender all to Jesus, we’re lying to ourselves as well as those around us.
It’s the sins you keep close to your chest that will kill you, not the ones you’ve surrendered and laid down at the foot of the cross.
God must reign in our hearts unimpeded. He must reign in our hearts unrestrained. He must reign in our hearts unfettered, and He will accept nothing less, no matter how much we might like Him to.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.