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I Can Take It Or Leave It

The Idiom “Take It or Leave It” means to accept or reject unconditionally.  It is a “final” thing we say and yes, we do.  In today’s Christianity, we see a whole bunch of waffling among the fold.  We hear a message for God’s Word about total commitment and we may even Amen the message and affirm the messenger, but then we have to live.  The waffling that follows is an indication that we think we are empowered (by ourselves) to accept or reject living for Jesus.  We take the phrase “free will” and use it to justify our lack of commitment to following Jesus with “all” our lives.   The wide swings from totally committed to marginally committed keep us in a tissy as we try to live out our faith, and our lack of consistent growth in God’s Word begins to show a glaring lack of total commitment to our Lord.

Keep in mind, commitment is not optional, it is to be exceptional.  In other words, the believer’s commitment to The Way is a prerequisite for sanctification and sanctification feeds the necessity to follow through with that commitment.  Which makes the phrase “I Can Take It or Leave it” not even a reality in the believer’s vocabulary.  But, sometimes we attempt to make it a real thing to compensate for our lack of true faith.  This true faith is a faith that works, and a faith that grows as we learn to “walk with God.”  Let me explain…..Ephesians 2:8-9 says 8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.  So we cannot work our way into heaven, but when we receive Jesus by faith and receive God’s grace a transformation takes place.  Paul wrote about this transformation in Romans 12:2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.  

That word from Paul is definitely and word for “taking it”, not “leaving it.”  The transformation changes our way of thinking and aligns us with what God wants and that is usually different than what we want because His perspective is from a different vantage point, Him being God and all.  So when we surrender our life to Jesus, then Jesus takes over and we are consistently being challenged and changed during this process.  This process is definitely all “taking it.”  In fact, the only “leaving it” that happens in a Christian’s life is leaving the worldly way of thinking behind.  Look what Paul wrote the church at Ephesians about this very subject.  Ephesians 2:

Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. 2 You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world.  He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. 3 All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.  4 But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, 5 that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) 6 For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. 7 So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.

The end conclusion shown to us by God’s Word is “Take it all.”   Give your life totally over to God and immerse yourself in serving Him and Him alone.  You cannot reject serving Him after you accepted His grace.  It doesn’t work that way and you need to read His Word to see all of that come to life.  Psalm 119:11 says I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.  To make it simple here is the formula.

Accept Jesus=Read His Word=Follow Jesus=Grow in your faith=Serve Jesus

That is a very natural progression of “taking it.”  Keep on taking it and you will see life as never before.

The Pilgrimage continues…..

David Warren

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