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What Would You Give Up For Jesus?

“The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.”-Proverbs 28:1


A bit over 8 years ago, my wife and I were trekking halfway across the US to go visit family in California. It had been the first trip we made back since we’d moved to Oklahoma. Before heading into California, our last stop along I-40 was Kingman, Arizona. After that, there is a long stretch of desert, and no bathrooms or gas (at least not discernably) along the way until you get to the border. As we were headed back onto the interstate, we were stopped at a traffic light, and everyone was asleep in the car. I looked in my rear-view mirror and saw my (then) almost 3-year-old son, Phinehas, fast asleep, and in the rear window, an 18 wheeler barreling at our car. In my mind, it felt as if I heard God saying, “would you even give him up for me?” Tearfully, I hesitated as the 18-wheeler headed on, but said “Yes, Lord, even him.” The light turned green, and we moved on as the truck finished filling the gap.


Yesterday, my wife and I were taking a homeless man to a shelter in a town about 45 miles away from us. This was the agreed upon destination after we put him up in a hotel the previous night and got him breakfast that morning. Halfway through the trip, our guest became increasingly agitated, slinging insults at me. The soft-spoken man we had met suddenly disappeared, and, seemingly, was becoming increasingly violent. I had several opportunities to drop him off in the middle of nowhere, but I hesitated. In spite of his increasingly threatening manner, I saw someone I did not want to see harmed. I did my best to talk him down, and at the first big town we came to, made sure he was in a safe place before dropping him off, and allowing him to choose his own way. There were times in that trip when I knew my life and the life of my wife (And, even, this man’s life because of his actions) were threatened, but for the sake of Christ, I felt it was worth it.


Why do I say this? Because I have put myself in harm’s way for the cause of Christ before yesterday, and I will do it again. There is nothing I have that I have not already given to God, and there is nothing I will have that I will hold back from Him. I have been rescued, saved, redeemed, loved beyond all measure, blessed and shown grace and mercy well beyond what I deserve. It all belongs to my Redeemer. And I say all of this to ask you: what would you give up for Jesus? What are you holding on to? What is holding you back from Him? Live boldly, loudly, and dangerously for Christ. Give all to the One who gave all for all the world.


 Ephesians 3


For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles— assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God's grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.


 Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God's grace, which was given me by the working of his power. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him. So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory.


For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.


Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

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