Spirit in Motion – All in with God
When we are all in with God, he protects and directs our journey.
What does it really look like to go all in with God?
Unfortunately, you may not have a real-life, living example, that you see often, showing you what it looks like to live a committed life to Christ.
But some of us do. You might see it in your parents or other relatives, friends, or people in your Church circle. If you are in school, you can pretty much bet that the school doesn’t endorse that opinion.
Thankfully we have the incredible story of Paul in the book of Acts and how he truly dedicated his life to serving Jesus and spreading the Gospel. The Lord took him on journeys that made such a big impact which are hard to fathom but are truly inspiring. It wasn’t always that way with Paul, who was also called Saul before his encounter on the road to Damascus.
Paul did a complete 180* turn around and instead of persecuting Christians, he started making them. As we move forward, you will see what it truly takes to be “all-in.”
For sure, this is one of the big question marks, isn’t it? If we go all in with Jesus, then what will that actually look like? Can I handle it? Will God take care of me? Who will it benefit the most?
In all honesty, there are challenges always associated with the life of a Christian. We face opposition from people all around us. We get categorized in a certain way. People change how they treat us. Our lifestyle changes.
So today, I will be speaking about Paul and what his life looked like when he went all in.
As you begin to understand some of the challenges, you might find yourself wondering if it is really all worth it. You will come to a time in your life that you will have to decide what this life of faith looks like. My hope is to help paint the picture of the journey you will take with Jesus.
It is also our hope that as you move forward with this message, you will be inspired not to just want to go all in with Jesus but to start taking actual steps to live this out. We know that if you do, life will never be the same!
Many Christians today, based on our busy lives, find that being a Christian is just another task that has to be completed throughout the day or even once a week. Statements like, “ok, its Sunday. Time for Church” or “Wednesday, time for group.” Or worse, we believe that being a Christian is about a matter of convenience. Only when we are not doing something else will we think of God.
We are about to travel with Paul on his second missionary journey and see how his conversion allowed him to be fully embraced by God and be used to change the world. Based on what we read about Paul, if he believed in something, there was no half way commitment.
Paul and Barnabas are in Antioch…
Read Acts 16:1-10
So, let’s put some context around this journey concept. In Paul’s time, there were no planes, no cars, and unless you had great resources, not even a horse was at your disposal. Often times, traveling meant walking. For Paul, he also made use of boats that were heading the same direction as he was going but for sure, this was a very challenging task.
We know for sure that Paul helped establish the seven Churches which are now in modern day Turkey and are also listed throughout the book of Acts and in the book of Revelation. These Churches were separated by distances of 30-50 miles in some cases.
We understand from the scripture that Paul, along with his companions, found it necessary to travel from town to town, to seed and cultivate God’s word. During the reading, I find it interesting that Jesus would not allow Paul to enter some areas but then send him a vision to go and help others. This demonstrates that God is leading the effort and guiding Paul throughout his mission. Paul was so committed to God that His spirit was working directly in his life.
It is hard to understand that fully committing to God gets God fully committing to you. So, let’s talk about fully committing to God and what that might look like.
Jesus made it very clear when He said, “pick up your cross and follow me.” When we made the decision to go all in, we knew it was not going to be an easy task. Two teams, one good and one bad exist. When you are born, you are already on the bad team because of the fall of Adam and Eve in the garden. Three options. You can stay where you were born, or you can accept Jesus and use Him as you need Him, or you can go “all-in” and allow Jesus to guide you to growing His kingdom. The last one is the most challenging but also the most rewarding.
Each of these decisions have consequences.
Staying where you are will mean you go it alone. But you are a moral person, right? Isn’t that enough? Maybe you can fight the good fight and not fall too deep into that path of destruction. You can use your morality that you have to ensure you don’t ever go too far, until you do. The evil one is always going to try to see if he can get you to go further. Since you are alone, you most likely will. It is no lie that most desperate people, when they feel they have nothing else, find Jesus. Just as a drowning person will cling to anything to avoid going under again, including another person. Jesus always has His hand out but you have to take it. If you don’t, the worst part, when it is all over, and you are alone and done, well, you are done.
So, let’s say that you grab that hand. The moment you do, you will start to see things change in your life. Just as quick as Jesus calmed the storm in the boat, one second, chaos, the next, calm. Belief, faith, trust, and love are your new mantra. Belief that Jesus is the Son of God. Faith that the path that He will lead you down is true but you still have to choose to go. And, trust that He will always have your best interest at heart even when it does not seem so. All choices lead to Christ.
And finally, now comes the hard part. All in with God. There is a big part of you that will feel as though you have something amazing in your faith and you will have an urge to share it. You know that it will be hard to try and convince others to believe as you now do, have faith, and trust that Jesus has this under control. You also know that if they can feel like you do, it will be worth any sacrifice. All-in means putting God first in everything and everything you do is for God. And why shouldn’t you. Isn’t God worth our devotion?
As we will learn from Paul’s story, going all in with God sometimes has reasons we might second guess our choice. In the next part of the scripture, we will learn about Paul and Silas and their visit to Philippi and their encounter with a young girl that predicted the future. This young girl followed them around for days and Paul had had enough. He commanded the spirit to come out of her. Well, the girl’s owner had been making money off of her fortune-telling and had Paul and Silas beaten and thrown into prison.
Paul and Silas are in Philippi…
Read Acts 16:25-34
Paul and Silas took a big earthly risk and got a big earthly reaction. They successfully cast the evil spirit out of the girl, but got beaten and arrested in the process. Casting out a spirit is a big example of going All In. Going all in does not mean you will need to go around and cast out spirits but it does mean that you are going to draw some attention. It is important to notice that when you go all in, people are going to take notice and respond. Thinking about that, the extra attention might be a worry, and how people will think of you if you go all in with Jesus. Something important to know… Once you make the choice, God will give you strength to stay the course even when you think you can’t.
Paul and Silas were praising God while in their shackles in the smelly, dirty, and scary prison cell. This is a great example of an all-in response to dark times that we might be in. At this point in their journey, it is all about trust and belief in what they were doing. Belief in their mission and trust that God was watching over them and that He was going to take care of them. Of course, God had their backs and while they were praising Him, and their chains broke and the doors flung open. By putting your faith and trust in God, you can also be freed from your burdens. Faith that God knows what you are going through and trust that He will see you through it.
It is sometimes hard to see what path God has in store for you. But, for sure, there is a path. Take a moment and analyze your life and think about where you have been, what gifts you have been given from God, and what doors are open in front of you right now. Ask God for wisdom and enlightenment so you can see His path laid out for you to follow. When you see the path, go with trust in God. Seek His council often on the journey.
Now, let’s take a look at Proverbs 3:5-6.
When you listen to this verse, for someone that is not All-In, you might immediately focus in on the word trust. This is a very big word to accept for many of us. We only have our own understanding to lean on and have been doing it most of our life. However, before we could, we had to trust our parents or caregivers to do things for us that we just couldn’t do. Then it wasn’t a choice but it was trust. As we grew, we learned our own understanding from the world around us. The world taught all of us a bit different. There in lays the problem. We learned worldly vs Godly. The Bible shows us several examples of people that were brought up from very early ages to only know God’s way. For example, look at Samael in the Old Testament and see how his life turned out compared to ours.
Just remember, we do have the perfect example of how to live All-In. While considering that we have many excellent examples to choose from in the scripture, there is only one that is the Son of God who came to earth to show us how to live as a human, how to die with His faith directly set on the Father, and that life through Him will be forever.
As we end, let’s reflect back on the main point. Being All in with God is based on belief, faith, and trust. Belief in God the Father and of the Son, faith that He knows you, and cares about what happens to you, and trust that if you do the first two, He will guide you to your purpose in life.
Scripture quotations taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV®
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