“Whatever we refuse to surrender (to God), and count but loss (for the sake of Christ) we will ultimately worship” (A.W. Tozer)
One has not truly become a Christian until they have died to self. Dying to self means to let go of everything that is yours – all possessions, all emotions, all rights, all will. Without surrendering every inch, every micrometer, of the life, one cannot fully worship God.
As the Lord Jesus Christ pointed out, a seed must fall to the ground and die in order to yield its fruit. To be a Christian, we must bow down and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we must die to self. Then, and only then, will the fruit of new life spring up in us. This is called being born again.
Nothing, no seed and no human being, can die only half-way. There is no such thing as half dead, only fully alive and fully dead. There is no such thing as a half Christian – one is either fully dead to self and alive in Christ, or fully dead in sin. There is no third option.
“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” (Matthew 6:24). As Tozer restates, whatever we refuse to surrender to God we will ultimately worship. I cannot serve both myself and God. I either serve one or the other. The Scripture passage uses the example of money. You cannot serve both God and money. The reason for this is given – “Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.” One cannot be completely devoted to two different masters. It is not possible to give two different masters 100% of yourself. What part of yourself is devoted to the other master cannot be devoted to the first. Likewise, we cannot serve both self and God. Self must be died to.
This is not to say that everyone should leave everything and live the life of an ascetic, deprived of basic necessities and mutilating the flesh. But we must give up every inch of our lives to God if we intend to serve him fully (and as we have just seen, there is no other way to serve but 100% fully). Whatever you refuse to surrender you will ultimately worship. If you refuse to give God your time, time will become your idol. If you refuse to give God your family, you will worship your family above all else. If you refuse God your service for the sake of your comfort zone, you become your own idol, serving yourself 100% instead of the God who created you.
Are you holding anything back from the Lord today? I beg you, don’t do it. Whatever you refuse to surrender to the Lord you will worship. You cannot worship both God and any other earthy thing. If you are worshipping something or someone other than the Lord, you are committing the sin of idolatry. And no idol worshipper will enter the kingdom of heaven (Revelation 21:8).