A few of weeks ago I got speaking to a really lovely couple who had recently started out on a new adventure with God. It hadn't been easy...God had asked them to quit a high paid, successful job and start a new business. It was really nice watching them work at this new job, you could see that they were greatly enjoying themselves and it was obviously the right thing for them to be doing. But it was when talking to one of them about taking this step of faith, that I really started thinking hard....
As I listened a few things struck me. Firstly, I was blown away by this persons honesty...people don't usually like to recognise or admit that they would ever consider drawing a line to God! Secondly, I realised that there are actually probably many people who feel this way. It's true that in church we often sing songs with words like "Lord, I give you my heart, I give you my soul..I lay my all before you now...I'm alive to live for you...", basically telling him that we will do whatever he wants and we give him full rule over our hearts and lives. I'm sure that many of us have even prayed words to that effect when we've been alone in a quiet place: "God, I give you my heart, I give you my life. I want to do whatever you want me to do. Anything. Just show me what you want me to do and I'll do it..." Well the truth is, that is a really serious commitment to make.
Thankfully that couple said 'yes' to the adventure God invited them on, and they chose to trust him with their finances rather than let fear hold them back. I believe that God invites each one of us to go on an adventure with him and all we have to do is say 'yes'. If we say yes to him and put our whole life into his hands, it will be the adventure of a lifetime. Each adventure is tailor made - he has made us all to have different gifts and passions. But the rules are generally the same; God will be with us with every step we take, he will help us to accomplish anything he asks us to do, but to see the highest heights the adventure has to offer, will cost us our whole heart. It means that we need to be willing to give God control of everything. Every single part of us, every hope and dream, everything we care about. We need to entrust it all into his hands. God will take us on an adventure, but only as far as we will let him.
To illustrate this point, the youth put on a short play, The scene opened with a girl praying before bed, dedicating her heart to God. God responded by inviting her on an adventure. She agreed to follow him and soon found herself having to make a lot of decisions. With each decision, she had to hand a part of her heart over into his care. They started out quite small: God asked her to change her lifestyle, he wanted her to spend less time on her phone and watching tv, and instead to use the time more productively for his purposes. He asked her to take up sport and get fit so that she could be in peak physical condition ready for what was to come next. She agreed and in doing so, placed a section of her heart into his hands. Soon the challenges got bigger; she was asked to quit her job and trust him for financial security...she was asked to move to a foreign country and to trust God with the family members she would leave behind...she was asked to help people who lived in dangerous slums and to trust God that with her own health and safety...and so on. Every time she chose to follow God, she placed that part of her heart into God's hands and she went further down the road of adventure with him. By the end of the play she had given her whole heart to him and in return she had seen amazing things. She had seen the world, God's provision, and been used to impact the lives of many people. God used the adventure to draw her closer to him, to change the lives of other people, and to change her own life for the better.
At any point, the girl could have said no. When God asked her to trust him with her health by asking her to work in the slums, she could have said "God, I'm really sorry but I draw the line here. I've given up my time, my comfortable lifestyle, my friends, my family and my financial security for you. But now you're asking too much, it's too dangerous and I want to stay where it's safe and clean." She could have said no at any point, drawing a line in her heart and the adventure would have stopped there, she would never see the reaches of where those next steps would take her.
It's the same for each of us. God invites us each on an adventure and soon we are faced with choices. Do we keep moving forward with God, surrendering the next part of our lives into his hands and trusting him with the outcome, or do we draw a line in our heart out of a place of fear or selfish ambition, and stay where we are? I felt very challenged to ask myself...do I draw a line in my heart? Is there anything or anyone in my life that I won't give over to God?
It got me thinking. What if Noah had drawn a line in his heart? What if when God asked him to build the ark, Noah had said something like "Oh no Lord! I'll keep your commandments, I'll love my neighbour and I'll sing your praises. But build an ark? No. People will think I'm crazy. I'm not doing that." What if he had allowed fear of what others would think to stop him from following God?
You can apply the same thought to anyone in the bible...what if Moses had refused to return to Egypt because he was too afraid that God wouldn't keep him safe there? Or what if when the disciples were invited to follow Jesus they replied "Thanks for the offer, but no thanks. We'll still follow your commands and pray and love our neighbours. But we're too busy fishing to follow you right now. We like this routine, it puts food on the table and we have families to provide for. You're asking us to step out into the unknown, and we just don't want to do that. Sorry."
What if God had drawn a line in his heart for us?
Imagine this: God made the world and it was good, and he made humans and he lived with us and it was good. Until one day we chose to turn away from God and we fell into sin. We found ourselves out of the garden of Eden and on the path to death and destruction. What if God looked at it all with a heavy heart and said "Well. I'm very disappointed. But I'll still give them a beautiful world to live in, I'll still give them nice sunsets and animals to look at. I'll give them a variety of activities to enjoy, I'll send them prophets and words of encouragement, I'll even do some miracles for them. But I draw the line there. I'm not going to lay my life down for them, that's just too far! I'm not going to pay for their mistake. They'll just have to suffer the consequences."
Thankfully God didn't draw a line in his heart for us. He gave us the whole thing. He laid down everything he had to save us; his very own son, his very own life. And he did that while we were still sinners, when we weren't even looking for him. All he asks in return is that we would accept his love and give our hearts back to him! Isn't that amazing?? He doesn't ask for our hearts so that he can give us a miserable life of suffering and sacrifice, he wants our hearts so he can give us the fullest life imaginable! Yes the cost is great, but what we he offers in return is even greater. If we put out whole heart into his hands, he can take us to places we can't even imagine. The plans that he has for us are for our good and his glory, they aren't plans to harm us or make us miserable. If we say yes to him, and truly surrender our lives into his hands, who knows where it will lead! I'm convinced the result would be out of this world.
So I challenge you today: Have you draw a line in your heart? Or are you willing to surrender the whole thing to God and join him in the adventure of a lifetime?