Living ALL IN has been a theme that I’ve been focusing on for a few months, probably since early summer. Actually, it’s been a resonating theme for a few years now. I preached an ALL IN message series at Mosaic DC back in 2008. I also preached the series at a church in Northern VA back in April 2011, when I filled their pulpit for a month. But a few months ago, I decided that beginning in October… my own personal ministry kickoff season… that ALL IN would be my ministry theme for the year. In early September, Dr. David Anderson of Bridgeway Church (where I have been attending since May of this year) announced that ALL IN would be the church’s ministry theme for the 2013-2014 ministry year. I thought, “Wow… that’s pretty cool… my personal ministry theme and my church’s ministry theme are totally aligned!” (I love alignment) Then, just today, I came across a copy of the recent book release of my friend and former pastor, Mark Batterson… and guess what the title is?? ALL IN!!!! I didn’t even know Mark had released a new book! (Soooo looking forward to diving into that, as soon as I finish this post!!)
I don’t think it’s any coincidence that God has been literally bombarding me with this theme… He wants all of His followers, all of those who claim to know Him personally and follow His Son, to live our lives being ALL IN for Him.
A consecrated life, without duplicity.
Fully devoted to knowing Him and making Him known.
This is the birthright of every follower of Jesus Christ… it is the life that God has intended that we live. But too many of us are either afraid of what people will think or – even worse – uninterested in living wholly under Jesus’ Lordship. Yet, by definition, we cannot consider ourselves His followers if we are not following Him.
Jesus made it explicitly clear that those who follow Him MUST “deny themselves and take up their cross daily, and follow Me” (Luke 9:23). The Christian life is not a “do as you please” life. Jesus gives us a choice as to whether or not we will follow, but not how we will follow. Every Christian must… by definition… be a follower. Everyone who says that they have “accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior” MUST… follow… Him.
But what does that mean, to “follow” Him? A disciple, or follower, in Jesus’ day was a “learner” or “student”. They studied the ways and teachings of a particular rabbi… and they were literally known by how they followed that rabbi. The word “follower” implied that you stayed physically close to your teacher. Whever he went, you went. Whatever he said, you said. Whatever he did, you did. So that, over time, everything you said and did so closely represented your particular teacher that everyone knew who you followed… because of the things you said and did. Disciples were ALL IN.
There was no such thing as a disciple who wasn’t ALL IN.
But today, many of us have embraced a philosophy of following that is totally contrary to anything that the Bible teaches. This philosphy implies that we can call ourselves a follower of Jesus, but we don’t really have to follow Him. We can say that we have “new life in Christ”, but all the while still hold onto our sinful, old way of living. We can “worship” Him on Sunday, but walk away from Him on Monday… or Friday/Saturday night.
But this isn’t the way of Jesus. Following Him means to live ALL IN for Him… ALL THE TIME… and with ALL that we have. It only makes sense, seeing that He gave all for us (2 Cor. 5:15). Because Jesus loved us, He went ALL IN for us. And we go ALL IN for Him because we love Him.
The ALL IN Life. It’s the only life Jesus offers.