I'm not much of a poker player. I can't keep a stone-cold face to hide whether my hand is good or bad. And I don't have much of a betting strategy. But I like to play. Maybe more so, I like to watch. There's just something about watching pros at the table playing a game of wits, wondering what they are going to do next. I know it's not for everybody, but I get a kick out of the tension and the drama, especially when someone decides to go all-in.
All-in. At that moment you are totally committed to your course. There's no turning back. You either survive to fight another hand or you are knocked out. So you just hope beyond hope that you're holding the better hand.
The dramatic made-for-TV reaction when going all in, is the player who stands up, steps back from the table and takes off either their hat or sunglasses. They dramatically hop around anxious for the results. And really, there's no reason to stay at the table. At that point, there's nothing more they can do but await the outcome.
I think a missing piece to modern-day Christianity is the notion of surrender. Going all-in, fully committed to Christ, with no turning back. Instead we subscribe to a casual faith from which flows a casual commitment. Consider Jesus' own words:
“Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32 If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace." (Luke 14:31-32)
And then the kicker:
"In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple." (v 33, emphasis added)
My small group has completed Francis Chan's Crazy Love and now we're moving on to Chip Ingram's Living on the Edge. Surrender/going all-in is a significant theme of this book, as it digs into the example of discipleship described in Romans 12. I'm not going to blog on it week-by-week as I did with Crazy Love because I already did so last year. Check out the R12 tag for those posts.
I believe there's a hunger in mainstream Christianity for something more... Christ-like. Almost daily this site gets hit on Google searches related to R12. Most frequently questions like, "why is Christianity so hard?" or "what does it mean to surrender to Christ?" It is sad that many cannot answer these fundamental questions (it's not supposed to be and I'd love to sit down, open up the Bible and show you). I pray reading this blog leads some to the answers they seek. I pray also it calls each of us higher, away from casual complacency towards all-in surrender.