Once upon a time, there lived a free-spirited young man who had finally met the woman of his dreams - one he deeply admired and respected. He longed to spend the rest of his life with her, and toward that end he learned all he could about her.
As he got to know her better, he began to take an interest in the things she enjoyed, and she, in turn, learned to like some of the things he loved doing.
Over time his love for this remarkable, principled young woman grew, and, although he was a rather self-centered young man, (and one who greatly valued his independence and free-spirited way of life) he asked her if she would consent to spend the rest of her life with him.
When she threw her arms around him and said, “Yes. I love you. I can’t wait to be your wife,” his heart begin to pound and sweat beaded his forehead.
“Um…uh…” he stammered. “I didn’t exactly mean we would get married. That is to say…I just thought we would, you know, be together….” the words trailed off into the awkward silence.
Needless to say, things didn’t work out well for the hapless young man. The very things he loved most about the young woman - her goodness and deeply held convictions - made it impossible. He wanted to be with the woman he said he loved. He simply couldn’t take that final step. His fear of commitment and what it might cost, kept him from the very thing that would have brought him the most fulfillment and joy.
So many find themselves in this very situation when it comes to taking that final step into a relationship with the Lord. They are willing to do all the right things. They learn about the Bible, have an interest in spiritual things, live a good life, and respect Jesus, but they cannot take the final step of fully surrendering their lives to Him. They stop just short of stepping into all that the Lord has for them.
Perhaps it's the fear of what it might cost in terms of personal freedom - the things they think they will have to give up for a life committed to loving and serving God. Once again it reminds us of the Upside-down Kingdom of God. The truth is, when you give up your life you gain more than you could possibly have imagined.
Think of all the wonderful things our self-centered young friend sacrificed because he refused to take that final step. When we choose to stop just short of giving our hearts to the Lord, we give up, not only a life of fulfillment, purpose, hope, peace and joy in this lifetime, but eternal life in heaven with Him.
The Lord will never force us to go beyond what we are willing to do. He calls to us to come and waits for us to step into the riches of His love.
As Pastor Doug said, “Many people are content with their ‘nearness.’ Jesus calls them to take that last step.”
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.” Revelation 3:20