Approaching God with conditions [Time Out]

Time Out quiet times for the youth worker's soulTime Out: Weekly quiet times for the youth worker’s soul.

A friend of mine is a pastor, and had someone approach him with the question, “Can I be gay and still be a Christian.” (From what I understand, he was investigating following Jesus). We’re not getting into this debate here. But, I thought the pastor’s response was excellent. It was basically – “If that’s what you’re asking, we’re probably starting at the wrong place. Your question is implying that who you are is first a gay man, and then a Christian. Christ calls us to be a Christian first, and that is our identity. He calls us to sacrifice to follow him. We have to be willing to give up our time, resources, sexuality…Jesus even said family. If we’re not prepared to follow Jesus if it means giving up ______, then that’s the first issue, regardless of whether or not you have to give it up. We can’t approach God first with conditions.”

Being called to follow Christ means being fully surrendered.

In Matthew 19 (my friend pointed the man there as well), someone asked Jesus about eternal life. Ultimately, when he claimed to have kept all the commandments, Jesus told him to give all he had to the poor, and the man went away sad, presumably unwilling. He wanted to follow, but was unwilling to give up everything to truly follow Jesus.

If we’re honest with ourselves, we probably approach God with conditions all the time. “I’ll follow you if I can still ______” or “I know I should be ready to give up _______, but I….uh, I know you don’t want me to.” Do we truly have god at the top of our priority list, or is there something else we’re still clinging on to?

As a youth worker, what is it that you hang on to?

  • Do you find your identity in being a youth pastor before being a follower of Christ? What would it look like to give that up?
  • What if you truly had to give up some of your favorite stuff? What has a grip on you?
  • Could you do ministry without an iPad? What if it meant feeding people instead of investing in technology?
  • Are you so tied up in your way of doing ministry, even if it hinders you or others walk with Christ from being what it could be?
  • Is there something else you’re hanging on to?

Take some time today and think about it. What is it that you may be holding on to, tangible or not, that prevents you from fully following Christ?

Posted on November 14, 2011

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