“Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” -- Galatians 2:20
“He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.” -- Matthew 10:39
“For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve.” – Acts 27:23
“So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.” – Luke 11:33
The Bible is clear that once you are born again, you are the Lord’s property and your entire life is subject to His lordship. While God leaves some choices up to us, such as whom to marry, where to get a job, what kind of house we want to live in, etc., He still has the right to call the shots in your life. In my case, I would be in gross disobedience if I left the greater Rockland area because I know that He wants me here. It is not up to me to figure out where I “want” to live or what I “want” to do – I have no appropriate choice other than to obey Him in these areas. If you aren’t called to the ministry, you have a little more latitude; God does not mind if you fix cars, catch lobsters or do cost accounting for a living – though He will lead you into things that you are gifted at and will excel at if you ask for His help. If you’re called to the ministry, God’s call on your life is “without repentance” – He will not change His mind and un-call you and there’s nothing you can do to un-call yourself.
Under the Law of Moses, 10% of your income was the Lord’s. Under the New Covenant, I believe that Jesus still gladly receives our tithes (see Hebrews 7), but today Jesus needs to be Lord over ALL your money, not just the first 10%.
I don’t believe that Luke 11:33 means (as some occasionally preach) that you need to give all your money away to fund the gospel! God isn’t against saving for a house, retirement, college, and having a cushion for yourself. Well then, why does Jesus say to forsake all you have? Forsaking all your have in this case does not mean giving it all away; it means that you forsake ownership of it. 100% of your money is now God’s property, not yours. If He leads you to give a certain amount to something in particular, you obey Him. I have had several instances of this happening, and one common thing is that the amount He prompted me to give was a lot larger than I would have decided to give on my own. But God has been faithful to multiply that seed back to me, and I’m sure I’m much better off for having given it than I would have been if I hadn’t. God really isn’t after your money – He’s not hurting! What He wants is your heart. I believe the reason Jesus told the rich young ruler to give everything away was that He wanted to make sure He had all of that man’s heart. Note that He didn’t go around telling everyone to give away everything they had, and I doubt that He’d tell you to do that.
The important thing to realize is that you are not your own, as Paul said in the first verse quoted in this article. You are God’s property, and God has rights over everything in your life. He’s not going to tell you to eat corn instead of peas for supper; some things like that are completely up to you. But if the Lord leads you to do something and you’re certain that it’s Him, you have no proper choice but to do it. If God wanted you to move to Turkmenistan as a missionary, you would do it. (He probably won’t do that – but He’s looking for WILLINGNESS to obey Him no matter what He tells you to do.) If you felt like getting even with someone who did you dirty, you would deny your flesh that opportunity. If He led you to serve in a certain way in the church, you would do it. If He told you to go talk to your neighbor about Him, you would do it. If He led you to pray for a certain person, you would do it. Obedience is better than sacrifice; God is not looking for “sacrifices” from you other than the “sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name” (Hebrews 13:15). I really believe it’s worth more to God to hear your lips giving Him praise this morning than it would be if you gave Him gobs of money.
Bottom line: Everything you have belongs to God. That includes your time and your talents! Jesus’ yoke is easy and His burden is light; He’s not going to crush you with unreasonable demands and burn you out. In fact, if you burn out, it’s because of the things you’re doing that He DIDN’T say to do!