On Being More There than HereGeorge Shamblin
I’d like to share something I’ve wrestled with recently—something I want to challenge you with, just as I challenge myself. It has to do with Luke 14:33: “So then, none of you can be my disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.” The Gospel of Luke repeatedly draws our attention to money and possessions. And while neither is inherently harmful, both tend to have an intoxicating effect that often keeps our affections “here” as opposed to “there.”
Regarding money and possessions, only once in life has my heart been in 100% Surrender-Mode to Christ—by which I mean, being in that place where the true desire of my heart is this: “Lord, all I have is on your table. If there is anything in my life that is keeping my affections away from You, do with it what you may.” The first time I ever prayed that prayer in earnest was during the summer of 2017, and the Lord answered in an unexpected way. I discovered the one thing I had refused to put at His table was my love of hunting. Funny as it may sound, it was nice for me to have a “hunting fast” for a year. I’m glad it’s over.
Fast forward to 2020.
For the life of me, I can’t shake this ongoing suspicion that He wants more. Right now, my heart isn’t in that same place it was that year, and despite the fact that it was the freest time of my life, I get nervous thinking, “What this time?” I’m guessing He will get me back to that place of complete “openness” soon. I know my Father would only give me His best, and I’ll bet His best will likely come in the form of an exchange: whatever it is I’m clinging to, in exchange for more of Him.
The “great cloud of witnesses” referenced in Hebrews 11 (translated, “the great assembly of martyrs”) exchanged all they had here, themselves, for all that was there: “a better country, that is, a heavenly one.”
The challenge for us is simple, but no less intimidating: the only requirement for greater richness in our relationship with God is complete openness to giving Him whatever it is we are holding back. I’d like to encourage you to ask these same questions God is asking of me:
“Lord, what is it that keeps my affections more focused on this life than the life to come? What particular affection would you have me take a break from, so that I may focus more on you? And, as I take that break, what would you have to fill its place, allowing me to focus more on your kingdom that has come?” Here’s hoping His answers would press you as much as they’ve pressed me.