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Take the World But Give Me Jesus

Updated: May 15

"Take the world but give me Jesus."

We sing these words with hands held high. We hum along in our day to day life. But when it actually comes to the "allowing God to take" part, we start to get stingy.

"You can have it all, but not that part. Not that idol of food I adore."

"You can have it all, but not the relationship I know dishonors you."

"You can have it all, but not my fears. I must be in control to feel safe."

"You can have it all, but not my full surrender. I am too comfortable here."

And the list goes on.

2023 was a year God took it all. He came hard after every little fear in my life that I held on to so tightly for 32 years always excusing away my behaviors as "needing control" or something I would pray away later.

But as God so often does, He says, times up and it's all for His glory even if I kick and scream a bit in the process.

He saw my cracks and knew they needed tending. So as a loving Father does, He swooped in to rip apart my security blankets of people pleasing and false sense of control.

"Are you afraid of what people think?" He said, "Then I will show you those who hate you for my name and you won't have the opportunity to change their mind."

"Are you afraid of not being in control? Then I'll send you to places and to situations where you can do nothing but fall to your knees in surrender and trust me that I am sovereign in your life."

"Afraid of picking up the phone? Today you will make the calls. Afraid of public speaking, I'll set you in front of crowds. Afraid to take the leap of faith, I'll push you off the edge. Afraid of them finding out your past, I'll send you where they already know so they can see my glory."

The list goes on and on. From big to small God stripped away my idols of fear and nudged me into deeper surrender.

My great faith many have noted, but my reply is this: my weak faith is not what has sustained me, it's been my God whose grace has shown up in the moment, not the day before.

We so often want everything lined up and in a row before we jump into His arms. What I have discovered is we cannot understand the depth of His provision for us until we are willing to take the steps into the unknown. Not until we leap can we fully find His grace sufficient for our time of need.

This week I ascended into the sky on angels wings via Allegiant Air. I was brought to tears as I realized the gravity of the sovereignty of my God over my life. We take for granted every breath in our lungs. We wake up with ungrateful expectations for a day of rushing and frustration that we wash down with a coffee. We forget, oh how I lament that I forget, it's His hand, and His alone that holds me up. And the only reason that plane stayed in the air was not because of mans physics and might, but because of our God! The pinnacle of a year of casting off fear, was revealed in that humbling moment of pressing in when everything in me wanted to run away. How helpless a feeling to know you control nothing but must sit in the seat and trust the captain. But what a privilege to know intimately the heart of the one who holds this world in His hands with such tender love.

Take the world, but give me Jesus.

We cannot fully "get" Jesus until we are willing to surrender the world. Surrender all, all the fears, the what if's, the control, the idols we use to squelch our anxious heart.

This Christmas, may the greatest gift you find not be in the stockings full of sugar, or the next self help book, nor the family around the table, or the new years workout resolution. No, this year, may we resolve to give up this world so that we can receive all that God desires to bestow on us. And may we venture into the unknown of 2024, knowing we will feel pain and hurt, knowing our faith and hope will be shaken, but our God is not. He will not be undone by the undoing of this world because He is the one who holds it all together - yes, even you.

Give up the world, and receive Jesus. He is waiting.

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