There’s a saying I have heard in business over the years that says “If you become too big to do small thing, you become too small to receive big things.” Upon reading one of my favorite devotionals this morning I stumbled upon something that made me realize how true this maxim is in relation to our walk with the Lord.
Jesus told His disciples:
“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” – John 15:13
Then proceeds to say:
“You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. These things I command you, that you love one another.” – John 15:14-17 (emphasis mine)
Here Jesus plainly says that the greatest love we can display is to lay down our life for a friend, and then says that HE is our friend! This simply means that we should also be willing to lay down our life for Him too! Consecration to Jesus means we are dedicated in our service and worship of Him, and we show our dedication not just by our talk, but mostly by our walk.
“If I am a friend of Jesus, I have to deliberately and carefully lay down my life for Him. It is difficult, and thank God it is difficult. Salvation is easy because it cost God so much, but the manifestation of it in my life is difficult. God saves a man and endues him with the Holy Spirit, and then says in effect – “Now work it out, be loyal to Me, whilst the nature of things round about you would make you disloyal.” “I have called you friends.” Stand loyal to your Friend, and remember that His honor is at stake in your bodily life.” – Oswald Chambers
This just really hit me like a ton of bricks this morning, mostly because I have been so occupied with my life over the past few months that I noticed my personal time with God in prayer and studying His word has really slipped. Over the past few days I’ve really felt the Holy Spirit pulling me back where I need to be and reading this today made it clear that God saving me was the easy part, but “working out my salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12) is really the drudgery of the Christian life that makes the biggest difference. We must honor God in the big things as well as the small, and in doing so we grow in faith and righteousness. The Second Epistle of Peter has some phenomenal insight on this issue:
“as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.
Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” – 2 Peter 1:3-11 (emphasis mine)
It takes diligence perseverance and self-control to live for Jesus in a world that wants to deny Him at every turn, but this is our duty and at minimum a very appropriate response to the free gift of Salvation our Lord has given us. Consecrating our life to Him is choice that we must make day by day, hour by hour and minute by minute by what we decide to do and what we decide not to do. It’s certainly not always thrilling, and it absolutely takes character to form new habits based on our new life in Christ to replace the old habits of our sinful, fallen nature. It’s not easy to always do the seemingly “small things,” but in doing them we put ourselves in a position for God to work through us to accomplish the big things.
“If I do my duty, not for duty’s sake, but because I believe God is engineering my circumstances, then at the very point of my obedience the whole superb grace of God is mine through the Atonement.” – Oswald Chambers