Published March 20, 2012

Paul's Epistle...
"Give It Up!"

"Have you given your life to Christ?"

That's often the way Christians ask others if they have accepted God's free gift of salvation and become Christians, believers, born again.

But I'm not sure we always think about the ramifications of what's implicit in that wording. Have we simply accepted God's gift of salvation (as eternally significant as that is), or have we, indeed, given Him our lives? The answer to that question makes a big difference in our perspective on being a Christian.

Consider: When you gave your life to the Lord, what did you hold back?

The list could go on and on and on....

We humans are so much like that. When we accept something new — even salvation — we tend to want to hold back some of the "old things" that we're just not ready to discard. But that's not what becoming a Christian is all about. In 2 Corinthians 5:17, Paul says, "...if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new." The Contemporary English Version puts it even more clearly: "What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun."

By His grace, God often overlooks much of our "withholding." But He'd like to pour out even more blessings if we'd only stop "holding back." The prophet Jeremiah warned the people, "Your iniquities have turned these things away [blessings], and your sins have withheld good things from you." (Jer. 5:25.)

Several years ago, Jeff Gibson of Heaven Bound wrote a song about giving our lives completely to the Lord: "Lord, I Give Myself To Thee."* The second verse and the chorus sum it up:

"Lord, I have no wealth to give,
Riches I have none.
But for you my life I'll live,
I give to you my heart.

I give myself to you,
All I'll ever be.
I give myself to you,
Lord, I give you me."

Can you say that today? Are you ready to surrender to the Lord those parts of your life that you have been holding back to yourself? If you truly do, a funny thing will happen: God will give you new things that are even better or will rejuvenate the old things in a way pleasing to Him. Or both!

In the words of the old hymn,

"All to Jesus I surrender,
Make me, Savior, wholly Thine;
Let me feel Thy Holy Spirit,
Truly knowing that Thou art mine."

Be a "living sacrifice" for Him: "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." (Romans 12:1-2.)

Give it up! Give Him your life. All of it! He gave His life — all of it — for you.

- Paul

*"Lord I Give Myself To Thee," Jeff Gibson, Heartwarming Music BMI, lyrics used by permission of the writer.
Note: This column first ran here in 2004. It seems especially timely as many are talking about "giving things up" for Lent.

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