CHALLENGE: Are You "All In"?

CHALLENGE: Are You "All In"?

Sometimes it is critical that we truly challenge ourselves and our current thinking to spark new growth. An honest appraisal about the people, places, and things for which you are "all in" can be an excellent place to start...

Tags: challenge series, all in, idol, passion, Loading...


I have a very good friend who talks about being ALL IN a lot.

He talks about being "all in" at his work.

He talks about being "all in" in his relationships.

It is clear that he has true passion for the people and work in his life. And that passion drives his pursuit of excellence in those things.

Isn't passion wonderful?

It feels amazing to be truly captivated by something or someone.

Have you ever considered that what we become passionate about might just be placed in our hearts by God?

I see no other explanation why some of us get so excited about sports, others about kids, and still others about reptiles.

The way my friend articulates his passion got me thinking...

How well can we describe our relationship with God as being "ALL IN" with Him?

"ALL IN" Analysis


Our "ALL IN" analysis starts with a sober assessment of exactly what people, places, and things we get particularly excited about.

What kinds of activities do we put our time into?

Who do we want to spend most of our time with?

What do we spend much of our time thinking about?

Try not to answer these questions like you think they are supposed to be answered, but rather truthfully.

Your list will tell you a lot about what is actually important to you.

Now take a close look at your list. Some of the items on your list may actually be idols (Click Here for a quick description of idols).

When you have an unhealthy passion for certain activities or people, you may actually be placing those things above God. (If you want to find out for sure, just ask yourself how you'd feel if you didn't have [fill-in-the-blank] in your life. If the answer is "completely devastated" or "horrible," you need to do a little work to elevate God back above [fill-in-the-blank].)

Now ask yourself a hard question. Did God or Jesus make your "ALL IN" list?

If you answered "Yes," you may be one of those Christians I envy (yes, I know that's wrong). I envy these dramatic conversion stories that drive immediate and permanent spiritual transformation.

Paul's dramatic conversion story on his way to Damascus is just one profound example, but these stories occur in our modern time, too.

I personally know of a wayward daughter living a life starting in her teens that included substance abuse, pathological lying, and illegitimate motherhood only to start ministering to similarly defiant young teens 10 years after it all began.

I love these stories!

But my story is much more boring.

My story is one of growing up with Catholic education and legalism before I gradually started pursuing a real relationship with Christ. Kind of like watching paint dry...

Thus, my story was neither dramatic nor terribly interesting.

Finding an "ALL IN" Attitude for God


So how can we find a consistent "ALL IN" attitude for God with or without a dramatic conversion story?

As I pondered this question this week, two very simple answers came to mind.

First, do we really believe in the Bible?

Before we are tempted to blurt out "OF COURSE," we should really think about our answer.

Here's why... If we really fully believed in its promises, wouldn't we approach every waking moment of our lives much differently?

For example, if we really believed in God's story, and that even the brokenness in our lives is designed simply to mature us into the best people we can be in preparation for our time in heaven with Him:
  • Would we lie, cheat, and steal?
  • Would we ever have divorce?
  • Would we ever speak harshly to those we love... or anyone at all?


  • You see, much of our waywardness from His ways has at least some roots in our unbelief in the big story of the Bible and God's promises it proclaims.

    Second, do we understand that we need both "head" and "heart" in place to be ALL IN?

    Specifically, we often need help to move information from our heads towards compassion in our hearts.

    This movement is heavily driven by the movement of the Holy Spirit in our lives, meaning it is a bit outside of our direct control. But we do have a role in inviting the Holy Spirit to move in this way. A regular practice of spiritual disciplines including the following can help:
    1. Be in the Word (i.e., read our Bible to fill our heads with knowledge and wisdom)
    2. Pray for the Holy Spirit to light (or rekindle) a passionate fire for God
    3. Live in community with other Christians from whom we can learn and for whom we can serve

    Ultimately, as these mechanical practices that exhibit our faith become more and more routine, the information will start to move from our heads to our hearts. We will start feeling compassion for God's people, as well as the awesomeness of the Lord in the details of our lives.

    Once we have our hearts on board with the knowledge in our heads, our passion for God and His people becomes a nuclear furnace driving Christian attitudes and behaviors that cannot be contained.

    Conclusion


    We have talked about how to become "ALL IN" for God. We started by first reflecting on what we are already passionate about while considering how natural it is to devote time and energy to those things.

    If God is not on our list, we reviewed a short process of how to get there that includes studying the Word, praying for the Holy Spirit to move us, and living in community with other believers.

    Most of us want growth in our lives. Periodically challenging ourselves is an important facet of the process of real transformation.

    Inspire your friends, too:

     
     
     
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