This week the sermon and all the devotionals are discussing the idea that direction, not intention, determines destination. Who can argue with this logic? Intentions are nothing more than thoughts, and can only propel us toward our destination if the body acts upon them.
If you had woken up this morning intending to open your eyes and get out of bed but never acted upon those intentions, you would still be lying in bed with your eyes closed. If you were hiking up a mountain and saw yourself heading toward the edge of a cliff, and you immediately had the intention of changing course, but never actually changed your direction, you would walk over the edge of the cliff. Your intentions do not determine your destination, your direction does.
So the moral of this story so far is: Make sure your actions are in agreement with your intentions, because only then will you reach your intended destination.
This is definitely wisdom to live by, but what about those who do their best to align their actions with their intentions but will never reach their intended destination because they do not possess the ability to reach it without help? What hope is there for them? What about the person drowning in the middle of the ocean who intends to be safe on dry land but cannot swim that far? What about the person in prison with a life sentence who intends to be free but has no ability to free himself? What about the person who just stumbled over a cliff and is falling to their death? Are you going to tell these people that direction determines destination?
Of course not. That principle is wisdom for those who are capable of implementing it, but it is foolishness for those who are unable to heed its advice. It is foolishness to the person who is falling to his or her death, just as it may be foolishness to some of you.
It is possible that some of you reading this devotional are falling to your death, because you do not know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Maybe you’ve been going to church, involved in a community group, tithing and praying. Maybe you have Christian friends, listen to Christian music and share the Bible verse of the day on Facebook. You remember the day you were emotionally overwhelmed during a worship service, you prayed the prayer that the pastor led you through, you were baptized, became a member of the church, and maybe you even volunteer every Sunday. What could you have missed? Your intention is to go to heaven and, as far as you know, you have aligned all your actions with your intention. What else is there?
Unconditional love and unconditional surrender to Jesus Christ. That’s what you’re missing. You are doing everything in your power to be a Christian, but what you don’t understand is that you don’t possess the ability to be a Christian. You don’t possess the ability to unconditionally love and surrender to Jesus Christ. You do not become a Christian by changing your direction to match your intention. Becoming a Christian requires a supernatural act of God, whereby he opens your eyes to see how holy and righteous he is, how evil and vile of a sinner you are, how you are his enemy and an object of his wrath destined for an eternity of torment in hell, and how beautiful of a Savior his son is. He then produces in you repentance and faith, leading to an unconditional love and unconditional surrender to his son Jesus Christ. This is salvation.
Jesus explains the unconditional love and unconditional surrender he wants from you:
A large crowd was following Jesus. He turned around and said to them, “If you want to be my disciple, you must, by comparison, hate everyone else—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple.”
― Luke 14:25–27 NLT
Jesus demands that you love him above everyone and everything, even your own life. You must choose him above everything no matter what. He will accept nothing less than unconditional love.
“Or what king would go to war against another king without first sitting down with his counselors to discuss whether his army of 10,000 could defeat the 20,000 soldiers marching against him? And if he can’t, he will send a delegation to discuss terms of peace while the enemy is still far away. So you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own.”
― Luke 14:31–33 NLT
Here Jesus explains that you are an enemy of — and no match for — God. Your only hope is to find out his terms of peace and submit to them unconditionally before it is too late. He will accept nothing less than unconditional surrender.
Dear friend, if your life does not show evidence of unconditional love and surrender to Jesus Christ, I beg you to flee into his arms, give him your unconditional love and surrender, and know once and for all true salvation and true Christianity.