At some point in our spiritual journey we all wonder, “What does God want from me?”
For me, it was the night I graduated from high school. After being with some friends at a party, I realized that I had academic success, my dream of a basketball scholarship was in hand, and I had a really pretty girlfriend. Yet I found myself sitting alone, empty and unhappy. My little formula of “success equals happiness” wasn’t panning out.
So I began asking the real questions that adults ask: “Why am I here? Is there a God? What’s my purpose in life? Is there more to life than just setting goals and achieving them?”
Later that night, I prayed my first adult prayer. I remember looking up at the stars and saying, “God, if You exist, reveal Yourself to me in a way I can understand.” And then I asked, “God, if you exist, what do You really want from me?”
Here’s what He revealed to me that night: He wanted my total commitment to Him. He wanted me to put Him first, ahead of all my other desires: basketball, success, money, and relationships.
Jesus taught in two short parables about the connection between our total commitment and our relationship with God:
“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field.
“Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it!” (Matthew 13:44-45)
Jesus isn’t talking about money and treasure in these two parables. He’s saying that when we truly understand who He is and what really matters in this life, then we will understand the treasure of what it is to have a relationship with Him. We will also understand the plan that He has for each one of us on this earth.
Then, and only then, will we – with reckless abandon and joy – forsake everything else to get it.
To put it another way, total commitment to God is the channel through which His biggest and best blessings flow.
Both the men in the parables sold all that they had. Why? They knew that the hidden “treasure” in the field and the “pearl of great value” were worth all that they owned and much, much more.
Was it risky for them to do this? Yes.
Did it require faith? Yes, it was all or nothing.
Was it worth it? Absolutely!
So what does total commitment mean for us today? Webster’s Dictionary says that commitment is “the alignment of one’s motives, resources, priorities, and goals to fulfill a specific mission, accomplish a specific task, or follow a specific person.”
In the words of Texas Hold’em Poker, it’s being “all in.”
So, what about you – are you all in? Total commitment also means total surrender, and this is very counter-intuitive for us in this world. Many of us see total commitment and surrender through a lens of negativity. We see total commitment as sacrificial, as a form of self-denial.
And we also see it as noble. We think that only the few people who are totally committed are martyrs. But total surrender is what God wants from each and every one of us.
Why? Because God wants us to get His very best and biggest blessings.
I believe that Jesus is saying to us today, “If you follow me and surrender all that you have, you’ll get a treasure that’s unspeakable. It’ll transform you and every relationship in your life. It has the promise of eternity and the power to forgive your sin. And it has the answers to all the big questions of life.”
To learn more about total surrender to God and how you can be “all in” for Him, check out Chip’s True Spirituality series.
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip