Posted in 2Corinthians

Are You “All In?”

“He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.” 2Corinthians 5:15

Our culture is fascinated right now with a game called, “Texas Hold ‘em.” There are tournaments in bars all over the world and ESPN regularly shows the big events entitled, “The World Series of Poker.” Why the craze, and why now? In a regular poker game there is a set limit on the betting, so there’s a ceiling on how much a person can lose in a single hand. But in Hold ‘em there’s no limit. Anyone can go “all in” at any time, so a player either has to match their bet or get out. If you lose after you’ve gone “all in” you’re out of the game. It’s all or nothing.

I believe there is something deep inside this generation that wants to go “all in.” They don’t want to do their “duty,” or give some minimal commitment to something that is socially acceptable, or that their mom and dad believe in. If it is real to them, they are ready to give everything. If it’s not, they don’t want any part of it.

God views the gospel this way. Jesus has died for you and me; He’s gone “all in.” The response can’t be a little religion to ease our guilt.  We must go “all in” as well or we won’t make much spiritual progress. God is patient so He gives us plenty of time to decide, but He won’t lower His wager because we think it’s too high. He gave everything for us and He expects everything from us.

If God gave us some dramatic way to show that we were going “all in,” I think many of us would be willing to do it. But the way we prove our devotion is by seeking to please Him in the midst of our everyday, ordinary lives instead of just living to please ourselves. It’s about our attitudes and decisions each and every day. Will we serve, or seek to control? Will we forgive, or hold a grudge? 

We can’t say we’re going “all in” on Sunday and take the wager back on Monday morning. He wants us to walk with Him 24/7. Because of our sin nature no one will ever do this perfectly, but God’s not looking at that. He’s looking at the attitude of our hearts: Are we holding back from Him, or are we really seeking to please Him every day?


Pastor at City Church in Madison, Wisconsin