How do I give my life to Jesus?
How does that happen? What is step one? What’s step two? What if it’s my first time? Or what if I’ve tried to give my life to Him before, but after a while I found myself doing things that hurt Him, again?
Isn’t that the million dollar question? If we can find the answer to that, isn’t true happiness within reach?
Let’s try to find the answer in the middle of the book of Deuteronomy. In this tenth chapter, Moses, continuing his farewell speech, retells the story of one of the biggest moments in the relationship between the Israelites and God – the moment they received the Ten Commandments.
It was a moment of commitment. It was the moment they gave their lives to God. It was their wedding day. If anyone can answer our question, it’s the Israelites, right?
Well, maybe not. The Israelites had strayed from God, violated their covenant with Him, broken their marriage – over and over again. They are certainly not the ones to turn to for relationship advice.
But maybe that’s why Moses was going over this again. The Israelites were about to enter the Promised Land, to settle down for the first time in years. It was time to recommit. It was time to give up their lives again.
Whether it’s your first time giving your life to Jesus, or like the Israelites (and me), you’ve strayed and you want to take this marriage-like commitment seriously this time, Moses’s words in this chapter show us how.
The first step? Writing your vows.
Who are you marrying?
What is the purpose of writing vows?
Tradition, sure, but they also serve as something of a reminder, an ode, a meditation on who this person is and why they’re so great.
So who is Jesus to you? And why is He so great that you want to marry Him? Moses has some suggested answers.
Verse 14 says that to Him “belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it”. And verse 17 declares that He is “the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes”. God is sovereign. He is rich and powerful. He is just. He looms large. He is inevitable.
But at the same time, verse 18: “He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing.” God is love. He is tender. He is thoughtful and caring.
And we could go on and on. What do you think? Does He sound like someone you’re excited about? Someone you’re ready to give your life to? Great! Keep writing.
What will your marriage be like?
Expectations make a commitment a commitment. You will do this. I will do that. And we will live happily ever after. So what are you signing up for in your commitment to God?
Moses thinks it’s simple: “And now, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God…walk in obedience…love…serve the Lord your God…and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that…[are] for your own good?” (verses 12-13)
Does that sound like a lot? It is, for us. Obeying, serving, observing commands – all of those things prick at our pride. We don’t naturally want to do that.
But look at what God will do for you in this commitment. Verses 21-22 wax poetic about a God who performs miracles and makes His people prosperous. It’s almost a duh moment. What is there He can’t do for you? You’re signing up to have the powerful, mighty, loving Ruler of the Universe on your side, committed to your heart, forever. That, my friend, sounds worth it.
This is why it’s important to write down your vows. Later in the Bible, Jesus calls this “counting the cost”. Lay it all out. What does this commitment, this marriage really mean? Who is this God, really?
And after that is done, there’s only one question left to answer.
“Do you take Me to be your wedded husband?”
It’s a big question. It’s a personal question.
Pastors, missionaries, teachers and proselytizers will tell you all of the same things we just went over. That He’s good. That’s He’s loving. That He can do anything and will do anything in His power to save you and love you.
And you probably know that He’s already “set His affection” on you and that He already “chose you” (verse 15).
But it’s still a big decision. And not to be taken lightly. Verse 16 calls on those of us who want to commit to God to “circumcise your hearts”.
Circumcise? Your heart? Circumcision is a painful operation, removing a flesh covering over a sensitive area. That’s what Jesus wants to do to our hearts. He wants us to remove our walls, our resistance, our selfishness – even though it’s painful – and let Him in. He wants us to truly and completely give up our lives and our hearts.
Don’t be afraid. Re-read your vows. He is worth it. What’s more, He will give you the strength to be faithful to Him. To love Him forever and ever.
What do you say?
No really, what do you say? Comment below and share this with someone who is considering a commitment.