Our world is driven by the idea of perfection, achieving 100% in every arena. Students strive to make 100’s on their tests. Athletes are driven to leave 100% on their respective playing fields after every game. Anything less than perfection is never desired, but gives motivation for a higher level of devotion and determination to achieve. Even in the areas of life where 100% is not achievable or expected, the number is only dropped by one percent. We buy antibacterial soaps that promise to kill 99% of all living germs. While this allows one percent to continue to grow and possibly infect a person’s life, we have grown to accept this smallest margin of loss. What would 99% success mean in different areas of life?
A recent study, published by the Gates foundation, gave statistics on 99% not being good enough. If 99% of all newborns were given to the correct parents, that leaves 12 newborns (1%) given to the wrong parents daily. Would this outcome be tolerated by the parents of a misplaced child? If the postal service was only able to achieve 99%, then 18,322 pieces of mail would be mishandled and even lost in one year. Would this be acceptable for the people who depend upon this service for their weekly or monthly checks? If 99% of all the shoes made had a correct match, then 114,500 mismatched shoes would be shipped in a year. Are you willing to wear a size 10 and 9 shoe at the same time?
We require 100% percent from every purchase or service that we receive. Anything less than that is not acceptable and if changes are not made, we will choose a different garment, hospital, or transportation service. While all of these affect our physical lives and can be burdens at time, how are we doing in giving God 100% spiritually?
Jesus gave the standard of Christianity by His life, death, burial and resurrection. He gave everything to become the perfect lamb of God (John 1:36; Hebrews 5:8-9). It is solely because of His great sacrifice that we have any hope of eternity in heaven. Therefore, if Jesus was willing to give everything in obedience to the Father, what about you and me? We must remember the standard, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me” (Luke 9:23).
What does it mean to deny ourselves and take up the cross? Did not Paul capture that aspect in his own mission in life, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is not I who live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20)? Thus, our lives of selfish desires and wanton pleasures must die and we must live solely for God. The price that was paid for my sins requires my complete devotion. As Paul said, “and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf” (2 Corinthians 5:14). The standard must be 100% or else we fail to carry out the condition prescribed by Christ.
To give God 100% of our lives may at times require us to surrender some enjoyable activities. These losses were to be expected and we need to prepare ourselves for the hard decisions that arrive upon giving our lives over to God. Our human relationships may be tested by the love we have for God. We will often have to choose between man or God (Luke 14:26). We will have to count the cost of our discipleship with God, and decide whether or not we will remain faithful to Him (Luke 14:27-33). Jesus never once promised that discipleship was the easiest route, but warned that “the gate is small and way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:14).
If we are only willing to give God 99% of our lives, is that enough when Jesus gave us 100%? We owe everything to God’s providence and love; therefore, we must strive to give Him everything. What happens when we fail and make mistakes along the way? We confess our sins to God and He is faithful and just to forgive us (1 John 1:9). To be found guilty of not giving God everything places me in a realm of unknown certainty. As a recent church sign reminded me, “To be almost saved is to be eternally lost.” A similar statement could read, “To almost give God everything is to be eternally lost.” We must learn to give God everything within our lives, because He deserves nothing less.
By Colby Junkin