Introduction - Boy, are we all different! The world is colored by a vast array of personalities, opinions, and interests. Aren't we glad we are not all the same--dull...
Except For This One Thing
"Are you sure Mom said we can't have these cookies?" twelve-year-old Jack asked. He folded his arms and fixed an intimidating stare on his little brother.
Five-year-old Ricky dropped his eyes and chewed his lip. "Well, um...yeah, I think she did. She said...she said..." He grabbed his head with both hands. "I...I think she said we couldn't even touch them! They're for her class, but--" His head slowly swiveled until he was eye-level with the counter where the still-warm cookies tantalized. "Well, maybe she didn't really mean it."
Human reasoning was Satan's first weapon against mankind and he's still using it today. The first temptation began with the words, "Has God really said...?" Implied in the simple question was the idea that a reasonable authority would never say such a thing. There had to be a miscommunication. Human understanding could come up with a more acceptable solution.
The world hasn't changed that much. Human beings haven't changed. Satan's tactics worked back then and they work now. They work so well that he even applies them to salvation. His lie tells us that we get to define our own level of commitment to Jesus Christ.
The rich young ruler tried it in Matthew 19. He came to Jesus and basically asked, "Who do I make the check out to?" Jesus loved him, but he knew his heart. Jesus never let his love for people compromise his message or the truth. The young man went away very sad because his bottom line was "I will give you everything but THAT!"
Thousands of people today are basing their eternal destiny on the unfounded hope that they can write their own ticket to heaven. They have no problem buying into the truth of the Gospel. They believe Jesus died for them, and they can commit to doing some Christian-looking things. In fact, they welcome the chance. It makes them feel better. But in their hearts, they refuse to let go of ownership.
"I'll give you most of me, Jesus, except for this one thing." This One Thing is usually a sin stronghold, a habit, a relationship, or a sense of control. They, like the rich young ruler, hope they can impress Jesus with enough flash that he won't notice they aren't giving him everything.
He's not impressed. He loves them, but he's not impressed. And he never bends the rules for anyone.
God did not bend the rules for Adam and Eve. And he won't bend the rules for you and me. When Jesus said we must "deny ourselves and take up our cross and follow him," he meant it. No one gets to say, "except for this one thing," and be a true follower of Christ.
We don't have anything to do with salvation. God writes the ticket. It is his way or it is no way. He does not barter, compromise, or change. If you are holding out, holding back, or explaining that you want to follow him "except for this one thing," you are fooling yourself.
What is that "one thing" that is keeping you from a real relationship with Jesus? Has God really said? Yes, he has. Whatever His Word says is the way it has to be. We don't get to write our ticket the way we think it should go. We don't get to pick and choose the sins we want to keep.
If we want what he offers, we do it his way.