When you become a Christian, one of the more notable changes is that you will give up many of the things you once did. Of course, this depends on your lifestyle prior to your conversion. But for many of us, a dramatic change will take place.
I have heard people share their stories of how they came to Christ and the great sacrifices they made to follow Him, saying things like, “I had a great life . . . I went to parties . . . I had so much fun . . . but I gave it all up for Jesus Christ, hallelujah! I left it all for the glory of God!”
What did we really give up?
When I hear statements like that, I feel like asking, “What in the world are you talking about? You gave it all up? What did you give up?” If they were to look at those things honestly and realistically, they would come to the same conclusion that Paul did. He said, “But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:7–8 NKJV).
Is it slowing me down?
Paul was saying that the stuff that used to be so important, the stuff he once valued so highly, meant nothing to him now in comparison with the awesome privilege and value of belonging to Jesus.
We might do well to bring certain activities or habits in our lives under the same scrutiny. It’s a good idea to periodically ask ourselves, “Is this thing that I am doing slowing me down or speeding me along in my walk with God? Is it building me up spiritually or is it tearing me down?”
The conclusion has to be the same: If anything is keeping you from an intimate, openhearted relationship with God through Jesus Christ, whatever that thing may be, you must count it as a loss.
What does Esther have in common with Rahab? Or Ruth with Tamar? They seem like diametrically opposed personalities. Shannon Bream gives insightful answers to those questions in her new book. We will mail you a copy when you make a donation of any amount to Harvest Ministries today!