Either Obsession or Rejection

Imagine if my son Noah (pictured above shooting a free throw) decided that he wanted to play basketball but that he also wanted to play video games on his Kindle during basketball practice and/or games. No coach in his right mind would be okay with that. You cannot give your best on the court if your mind (not to mention your eyes and your hands) are elsewhere. You have to focus. You have to be committed. You have to do your best.

My dad, who was my high school basketball coach, used to say something like, “You’re either all in, or you’re not in at all.” In fact, if you were not “all in,” you literally would not “be in” (in the game, that is).

While I found myself obsessed with basketball (and sports in general) when I was a teenager, I was eventually sorely disappointed when basketball did not take me (or I did not take basketball) as far as I wanted to go. I am thankful, though, for the life-lessons of teamwork, commitment, loyalty, hard work, dedication, sacrifice and priorities that are learned through sports.

Still, sports are just a part of life. They are not, despite what I believed as a student athlete, life itself.

Following Jesus, however, is different. Yes, there are sports-related lessons we can apply to a life of faith, but sports, like everything else in life, pale in comparison to knowing the Lord. Walking in a genuine relationship with Him is what we were created to do. This relationship is life.

Thankfully, I learned this as a sophomore in college, when God opened my eyes to the truth of the gospel, and I placed my faith in His Son for the forgiveness of sins and eternal life.

To follow Jesus, according to the Bible, means being 100% sold-out for Him. In other words, you are either obsessed with Him, or you are rejecting Him. Too many people seem content to find a middle ground, but there is no middle ground with the King of kings and the Lord of lords. You either give Him your all, or you are worshiping something or someone else. You’re either all in, or you’re not in at all.

Tomorrow, I will be preaching through Mark 14:1-31 during our church‘s morning worship service. In verses 3-9 is the amazing story of a woman who gave up something of incredible value in order to worship Jesus. As a result, Jesus said, “I assure you: Wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told in memory of her” (Mark 14:9).

This woman was obsessed with Jesus. Are you? Or, are you rejecting Him? Do not settle for the lie of an acceptable middle ground. Surrender your life to Jesus, ask for His help, and be all in. Unlike sports, He will never leave you disappointed.

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How do you know where your heart really is?

If you’re like me, you struggle – at least at times – with materialism and greed. You struggle to find your satisfaction in the God who created you and instead find your satisfaction in the things He (and man) created.

Who or what do you love more than anything else? Who or what do you worship? God created us with a natural desire and inclination to worship. Every single one of us is a worshiper. We were designed to worship God. Most choose, though, to worship other things or people. Our hearts were created to long for God, but apart from His saving grace, we will all choose to long for others or other things.

How do you know, though, where your heart really is? How do you know, for example, if you love God more or if you love money more?

Ultimately, our actions and priorities prove what our hearts crave. This was certainly the case for the young rich man in Mark 10, and it is the case for every single one of us today.

Will you respond to Jesus’ call to absolute surrender with humble, childlike faith, or will you be “stunned” by Jesus’ demands and go away grieving, like this man described in Mark 10:22?

This morning, I preached on “The Miracle of Discipleship,” challenging those listening to believe and value this miracle of God. If left to ourselves, we will make the wrong decision. Thus, we need the Lord’s help.

Call on Him in faith, and He will give you the desires of your heart, the right desires.