Along that line, I read this quote this morning:
Lose you life and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favorite wishes every day and death to your whole body in the end: submit with every fibre of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have given away will be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in. – C.S. Lewis
Keep nothing back.
Jesus gave a guy some advice that was pretty similar to that a couple of thousand years ago: “go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” (Mark 10:21 ESV)
It sounds so good to me. When I read quotes like this I squeeze my eyes shut and tip my hands upside down and focus all my energy on surrendering those ‘ambitions and favorite wishes’.
But it doesn’t work. I open my eyes and still want all that I want.
Keep nothing back. That sounds great, except for the part where it’s absolutely impossible to do.
Jesus says: give up everything, and then he lets us know that it feels impossible for us to do that because it is; “but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” (Mark 10:27 ESV)
And that’s why the Gospel is good news and not good advice.
It is the good news that Jesus has kept nothing back. He lost His life so that I might gain mine through His Spirit. And now, I have Him inside of me, in each moment, putting to death all that I am desperate to hold on to and breathing life into parts of my soul I would be happy to keep dormant.
Jesus has kept nothing back. And so I have His Spirit in me – who will ensure that I too – keep nothing back.
Good news indeed.