As we are quickly approaching the New Year these are three words that have been on my mind this November. For the past few months I’ve been thinking what it means to be an all-in follower of Jesus in college. Do I have to sell everything I have and go off to Kathmandu? Do I have to spend countless hours of my day in devotions and prayer? What does it mean? Then I realized that’s not necessarily the case. Being all-in doesn’t have to be those things, although that is the specific call for some people, but being all-in means being in a constant state of worship and prayer. When we surrender to that kind of devotion to God, being open and available to molding and shaping, it is easier for us as believers to hear the purpose he has for our lives.
Living a purposeful and an intentional lifestyle is not always easy, and it’s simple to get sidetracked into looking like a good Christian and not necessarily being an authentic follower of Christ. I work at a bank, and one of the processes we as tellers have to be very mindful of is counterfeit money. The making of this illegal currency is sometimes almost an art – it is so similar to the real deal. We have this machine that we can run the money through to see if it is real before we deposit it into someone’s account. If this machine catches that there is a threat that the bill is a counterfeit there is a special pen that we can use to double-check it. That is what the Bible does. The Holy Spirit is our machine that gives us our convictions and the “pen” is the Bible that we can run over ourselves to see if our actions match up with who we say we are. If that pen and our life present the wrong color, we have to remove the inauthenticity from our life and deposit the good.
Ephesians 4:22-24 says, “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” This instructs directly to live intentionally and authentically the way that Jesus calls us to. That is our purpose as believers. Whether the “go” on your life is a third world country or witnessing locally, when we are in that constant fellowship with the Lord and focusing on our “new self”, those around us model the integrity they see in our lives.
Being teachable, being intentional, being available, and focused is what embodies what all-in means. God doesn’t call just a part of us; he calls our whole selves. Having that whole-hearted commitment to God isn’t as easy as it sounds, but the peace that comes with it is so worth it. God wants to use everyone in a specific, significant way for the glory of his kingdom. That may not always be revealed to us immediately, but John 15:16 says, “You did not chose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the father will give you,” when we live according to God’s will and our intentions are for the glorification of his kingdom, it will be given to us.
How awesome is it that God loves us all so much on an individual level. Not just an, “I love the Israelites,” kind of love, not just an “I love humans” in general kind of love, but it’s an, “I love you unconditionally,” kind of love. Wowza! Striving for purpose, intention, and authenticity shouldn’t be a sacrifice when we have the God of the universe wanting to use us (even as sinners) so everyone can have the opportunity to experience that “I love you,” kind of love.