Let me start by asking you a question: when you became a Christian, what did you say? I’ve become aware this week that increasingly in Church meetings we make a ‘salvation call’ (maybe called something different in your church but it’s that moment when unbelievers are asked if they want to become Christians), and when it’s made something like this gets said “would you like to become a Christian, you just need to invite Jesus into your heart”… WAIT. HOLD UP. “just invite Jesus into your heart?!” How is this a Biblical response to Jesus’ invitation to us?
Let me explain what I’m getting at.
In the first chapters of both Mark and John’s Gospels, Jesus calls the first disciples.And when you read closely you see that as he calls them they “immediately left nets and followed him” (Mark 1:18) or even more radically “left their father and followed him” (Mark 1:20). The decision that they make right there in that moment is one that fundamentally changes everything about their lives. For the men Jesus calls, being fishermen would have been their whole life, their identity, and being sons would have been equally important. Do you see therefore why to suddenly leave their nets and their fathers would have been radical?
In that moment they were signifying the leaving behind of their previous life and that they were taking hold of a new life, a life of following Jesus. As they left their jobs and their families they gave their whole life over to serving Jesus.
Caught on to where this might be going?
How different is it to say ‘Jesus come into my heart’ than to say ‘Jesus I give you my life’? I have come to the stark realisation that far too often I have prayed ‘Jesus be in my heart today’ rather than ‘Jesus here is my life again today, use it for your glory’. By asking Jesus to be in my heart I am simply asking him to be there, I’ve not given anything up, not sacrificed any pleasures, not crushed any idols, I’ve just added in the Jesus element to my already cluttered life. But he doesn’t want to just be in my heart, to be an addition, He wants my life. I want him to take full control, to be the only thing in my heart, to be my full focus, my desire. I don’t want him there to call when things get bad, I want my life to be lived in full accordance with his plan, in utter surrender and obedience to his voice.
The Bible doesn’t call me to invite Jesus to be part of my life, it calls me to surrender everything I have, “to take up my cross daily and follow Him” (Matthew 16:24). Jesus says to the rich young ruler “give all you have to the poor and come follow me” (Matthew 18:21 & Luke 18:22). The call on our lives is just that, a call on our life.
I’m repenting of the times that I’ve added Jesus into my heart rather than giving him my life. I know that once I give it there is no going back, once the decision is made to surrender to him and live in obedience to his voice my life will be in every way his. But I’d rather give my life to the Saviour Jesus than never truly know him living in me and never see the fullness of all He wants to do through me.
Where do you stand today? Have you just invited Jesus to be an addition to you heart or have you left everything, given your life to follow him? If you haven’t, then I pray this post speaks to you, that you see we are called to respond by leaving our metaphorical nets and following him. I pray you surrender your life, as I have done, to following Christ.