By Ryan Shaw
The Holy Spirit is trumpeting the message of the fulfillment of the Great Commission in this generation. He is calling the church to become all she was created to be and be used as the catalyst for the greatest global harvest ever seen in human history.
The Great Commission is the natural outflow of a life marked by the Great Commandment. Matthew 22:35 – 37, “Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.”
Human beings were created to enjoy the highest and deepest love relationship with Almighty God. We are meant to love God with all of our being.
We can only begin to attain this by first recognizing that this highest and deepest kind of love is the way God loves us. 1 John 4:19, “We love Him because He first loved us.”
Jesus intends His global church to walk in New Testament Christianity. This is the only kind of Christianity recognizable to Jesus.
What does this wholehearted type of devotion look like? An unconditional, wholehearted surrender to becoming like Jesus in every way, filled with His life and Spirit, marked by love and obedience, and passionately pursuing His presence.
In SVM2 circles we call this “Abandoned Devotion” to Jesus. Let’s consider these words for a moment. “Abandoned,” means forsaking or forgetting someone or something. “Devotion,” refers to profound dedication or consecration.
Abandoned devotion is to forsake all else in pursuit of Jesus alone. We are called to abandon those things we consider most dear that interfere with our wholeheartedly following and obeying Jesus.
“Abandoned” describes the totality and extent of our devotion. We are abandoned unto Him. Our devotion is no longer casual, comfortable or convenient.
This kind of devotion calls us to consecration that costs us our time, money, security, friends and family. We do not respond only when it is convenient, but surrender everything to Jesus.
We were created by God to live this way because it provides the greatest measure of true freedom, satisfaction and contentment. God set up His Kingdom so that human beings live in total submission to His rightful rule and reign over our lives, experiencing the highest realm of true life possible.
By virtue of God creating all, setting in motion the world and all that is in it, He is the owner of it all. Then He came as a human being to pay the penalty for fallen humanity by the shedding of His own blood.
Jesus is the rightful owner and ruler of all based on His obedience to the will of God in restoring the Kingdom of God. As a result He is worthy of our love, trust, surrender, obedience, adoration, devotion, perseverance – even when it hurts.
A crucial step for growing in wholeheartedness is overcoming the “self-life.” The unyielding self stands in the way of our growing in abandoned devotion and obeying the Father.
Self justifies its own way, stands up for its rights and seeks its own glory. The self life includes all that springs from “self”. It includes self-energy, self-complacency, self-pity, self-seeking, self-indulgence, sensitiveness, touchiness, resentment, self-defense, insecurity, self-consciousness, worry, fear, unbelief and more. And we do not overcome these simply by being born again.
The power to deny self, submitting to the Father’s ways, will and plans is the life Jesus came to provide. Though fully God and fully man, Jesus voluntarily emptied himself, submitting to the Father in this way as an example of what we are intended to do as well.
Jesus’ relinquishing of the self life wasn’t a burdensome calling. Laying aside rights by submitting to the Father’s will produced joy and confidence as peace flooded his soul.
It’s tempting to think that following Jesus with abandoned devotion is too hard and the cost too high. Instead, it’s exactly the opposite. Surrendering to Jesus is the on-ramp to joy and exhilaration. Obeying God’s ways produces life as it was divinely intended to be lived.