Sometimes we say with all our hearts, and sincerely mean it, that we would give up everything for Jesus.
Sometimes we imagine going to a foreign country and even being willing to die for His Name Sake.
Sometimes we feel that anything He asks is acceptable and more than worth giving to Him.
Sometimes we are willing to go anywhere He desires, say whatever He prompts us to say, or do whatever He asks us to do.
I've often felt this way. When CHRIST shows you who HE IS and who we are... we kneel is awe at such amazing love and humbly consecrate our lives. This is good. This is needed. This is our "reasonable service" according to Romans 12. But sometimes, even though we say we are completely surrendered to the greatest and dearest of costs, we don't practically live it.
Sometimes it's the little foxes that spoil the vines.
Everyone has different standards about 101 different things. I'm not even going to attempt to talk about standards here. But, I do want to share a personal testimony about something the Lord said to me in regards to our "willingness" to be completely surrendered to God and the practical application of it.
I love good music. And I don't have a conviction again certain modern artists, or secular songs. In fact, I really like some of them. I enjoy happy, fun, lighthearted music that makes you tap your feet to a beat or dance through the kitchen. So, one afternoon, I was listening to just such a song. I was doing some rather tedious work and it felt nicely motivating. I knew I didn't have a conviction with it. I knew it wasn't wicked. But, something made me stop and think. I decided to ask Jesus...right there... right then... what He thought about the song I was listening to. I asked Him. And I waited for an answer. Then He said to me, as clear as could be, "It's hard for you to hear My voice when that is playing." Oh. That wasn't the answer I was expecting...although I'm not honestly sure what I was expecting to hear. 😐
I paused the music and just thought about what He said for a good long while. "Really, Lord?"
He didn't tell me "No". He didn't say I couldn't. It didn't call it sin. He just told me what He thought about it, which is exactly what I had asked Him, and left me with a decision to make.
Not a decision of sinning. Not a decision of right or wrong. But rather, choosing to hear HIS VOICE or not. Choosing something that was expedient or no.
Again, it's amazing how quickly we say "All to Jesus I Surrender", and then He asks us to give up a little tiny thing that isn't at all remotely important in light of eternity, but just brings pleasure to us. Something... that is even innocent or harmless of itself.
I stopped listening to that kind of music for about 2 months. I'd decided that hearing His Voice was more important to me than anything...including a small pleasure that made me feel happy and motivated sometimes.
Then, one afternoon, I was out by myself and had just finished working an exhausting few hours and felt like listening to something cheery. Something fun. Something to lift my spirits. And what did I do? I listened to those same songs He has told me about months before. Was I sinning? No. Was I disobedient? No. But I chose something less. Something He has already warned me about in regards to my relationship with Christ. That night, I was doing something important on my computer and had forgotten an important step. I couldn't remember what it was and needed the answer real quick. As I usually would do, I asked Jesus for it. I'll never forget what He said to me. "Earlier you chose to ignore hearing my voice for that music. And now, that you need something, you want Me to hear yours?" I was speechless in His presence. I cried. I was cut to the heart. That is exactly what I had done and I hadn't thought a thing about it. How selfish I am?! To insist on my own pleasure at the cost of Him and then expect Him to do what I wouldn't do... listen. I asked His forgiveness. I begged that I could love Him "more than these" things. And you know what? He is still so good. He gave me the answer I urgently needed anyway.
It was after that, that I decided to delete the music altogether. To rid myself of the temptation. Obviously, if there's a will there's a way. If I really wanted to listen to that same music ... I could. But that isn't the point.
Hebrews 12:1-2 says,
"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."
Laying aside every weight. Every sin that besets us. Why? Because the Christina life is a race... and we are suppose to be running. Some "weights" don't seem very heavy. So we keep them in our pockets. Some weights, and sins, we don't even realize we are carrying along with us, that are SLOWING us down. That's why David said, "Search me O God and know my heart, and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting". We need to be searched...by GOD. We need to ASK HIM. Because we don't see the weights ourselves. We don't see the sin. Our hearts are deceitfully and desperately wicked above all things. Who can know it? But, He is FAITHFUL to show us. And He is patient. And we need to not only ask to hear His voice, but also be willing and ready to do whatever it takes to hear it.
I hope this is encouraging to someone. Let's run the race set before us, looking unto Jesus. He is worthy, as He is worth it.