"Choose you this day whom ye will serve."
You may think, "Well, of course, I will serve the Lord. I would never bow down to any false god." But think again. You may not actually, bodily bow down to any one object. But lordship is not an issue of outward actions, necessarily. It stems in the heart. Whom you worship on the outside, you first worshipped on the inside.
So ask yourself: is there anything in my life that I hold as more important than Jesus Christ Himself? Is there anything that I give more time, energy, thought, and emotion to than Jesus? Is there anything in my life that I absolutely could not give up if God called me to? Am I content with Jesus alone, and could still be content if all but Him was taken away? Let's word it this way:
What is the one thing/person more dear to you than anything else in the whole world?
Could you do without it if you had to?
"Ouch! Um... well.... that is.... uh..... of course, Jesus is most important, but... uh.... I really do love (such and such) so much.... I don't know what I'd do without it...."
See how earthly things get such a stronghold in our lives? There are many things that we ought to love or that it is okay to love. In my case, it is living things more than material objects often: my family (especially my mom), my friends, my church family, my country as it used to be... But nothing, absolutely nothing, no one, has the right to take Jesus' place in my heart. If it does, that has become my god in place of Jehovah.
This is a very scary thought. We tend to think, "But if I give up this person/thing to God, He will take her/her/it totally away! I will surrender it, and then God will take it utterly away." That's how I think, at least, when I think about surrendering the things and people dearest to me. But what a foolish thought! A. W. Tozer touches on this in his book The Pursuit of God, and states, "Everything is safe which we commit to Him, and nothing is really safe which is not so commited." When we hold things to ourselves, they are rather more insecure because we feeble, unknowing humans are trying to take care of it. Why do we think that we can take care of something better than God can? Besides, it all comes back to who/what really is our Lord. If we can't give something up, then it has become a sort of god to us, having control over us.
Corrie Ten Boom was a woman who lost her father and sister and the comforts of life when she was taken to a prison camp during World War II, after harboring Jews in her house. And it was she who said,
"I must learn to hold earthly things lightly,
because if I do not, the Lord might have to pry away my fingers,
and that hurts."
Allow me to share something that the Lord taught me about this. Yesterday, Pastor was preaching about contentment/thanks-giving and something stood out to me. (For some background, there has been a trial which we have been going through at home lately, and I have been longing for an "ideal" situation which we don't have.) Anyway, as Pastor was preaching, it struck me. I realized, "I don't need [the thing I'd been longing for] to be happy. All I need is Jesus. As long as I am in Him, I can have joy." Since I realized this, I have been filled with joy. Instead of pining for things on earth, I can set my mind on heavenly things, and then I see that I truly do have everything I need. This is the key to contentment: Jesus Christ being your ALL-IN-ALL!!!
So give up to God anything that takes His place in your heart. Do not allow anyone or anything to subtily take the place that God claims for Himself. Find your fulfillment in God alone, looking at all His earthly gives to you as only tools to help you along as you press towards heaven. Trust God to be your supply, your all. Earthly things can pass away, but God is eternal. Wouldn't you rather trust in an eternal, unchanging God, rather than in the fleeting things of earth that will one day be burned??
"As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."