Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today- July 31, 2010
“The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, ‘I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you. . . .” Genesis 22:15-17a
God blesses an open hand. Complete and total obedience is what He desires. There can be nothing we possess that is too sacred to give up or to give over to God. It may be a child. It may be a career. It may be an employee. It may be a relationship. It may be a habit. It may be a hurt. It may be a boat, car or house. When we surrendered to the lordship of Christ, we give over everything to Him.
It is not a matter of degrees or incremental obedience. It is total and complete submission to God with nothing withheld. Indeed, if we do hold back, He holds back. God will not fully bless partial obedience. This is not His style or expectation. His intention is to have all of you. This includes your family, finances, friends and faith. Just because you are willing to give up or give away something does not mean God will require you to do so. But, He does expect you to be willing.
He looks beyond your words to your heart. It is not a begrudging giving up that He expects. Rather, He looks for you to let loose and walk away with no strings attached. He wants to bring you to the place of total contentment in Him. He wants you to be completely and absolutely abandoned to Christ. If all you are left with is Jesus, this is enough. As long as you require Jesus plus something else, you still operate with a conditional commitment to Christ.
Jesus does not need any additional help. It is Christ and Christ alone that is sufficient for an abundant life. Moreover, God’s leading may be full of uncertainty, but one thing you can be certain of is His provision—in the right way at the right time. When you give up something, He replaces your sacrifice with His best.
God is not shabby in what He gives you in exchange for your not holding back anything. God releases His best when you withhold nothing. Sometimes His timing gets right down to the point of death before He intercedes on your behalf. Your vision may be on the brink of death, and this may be the very time God breathes His breath of life into it.
You have to travel down this road of placing your vision into God’s intensive care unit. By going with Him to the point of death with your vision, you become more committed than ever. Your faith is more robust. Your intimacy with Christ grows deeper, because you place your vision on His altar of sacrifice. If it dies, it dies. This is God’s call. But you must be willing to walk away if this is the will of the Lord.
But, He observed your sincere faith and complete trust in Him. And because you were willing to die to the vision, He has taken your vision to a whole other level beyond your dreams. When a vision is a God-sized vision, it cannot be contained by human reason or resources. However, we have to let loose of its grip and allow God to let it explode into eternity. Grasping and withholding limits God’s blessing.
Lastly, He may be calling you to lay at His altar of sacrifice a relationship. You have held on too long, and He expects you to die to the need for this person. They have controlled you, instead of the Holy Spirit. Indeed, what God expects has taken back seat to the expectations of this person. It has become a dysfunctional and divisive relationship. He may be asking you to give it up, and to give over to Him your fears.
This relationship has hindered, not enhanced, your relationship with Jesus. It is not worth the energy and effort to make it work. Give it to God. Place it on His altar, and trust Him with the results. He will provide a richer and more meaningful relationship, but it starts with allowing this one to die. Deep life with Christ comes from a death. It required His death. It requires our death to self and, if necessary, the willingness for dreams and relationships to die. Withhold nothing!
Taken from the Dose 4 reading in Boyd Bailey’s Infusion. This 90-day devotional book is a compilation of the reader’s favorites from Wisdom Hunters daily devotional. Andy Stanley says, “I have walked with Boyd for over 20 years and I am definitely wiser for it. You are going to love this book!”
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