“And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes which I command you today for your good?” (Deuteronomy 10:12,13).
THROUGHOUT THE SCRIPTURES, WE ARE CALLED UPON TO MAKE A COMPLETE COMMITMENT OF OURSELVES TO GOD. Texts like the one above challenge us to make up our minds whether to give ourselves up to His government or to declare our independence from Him. If we ask what it is that God requires of us, the answer is that He requires our very hearts. He asks that we give ourselves to Him — in total reverence, obedience, and love. And if we’re inclined to give Him less than this, then we should at least be straightforward about what the alternative is.
In a sense, the “all” that God requires of us is a harder thing to give than the partial gifts we sometimes offer. For a while, real godliness may involve doing without some things we’ve grown accustomed to calling our own. But in another, more important sense, what God requires is easier. When we try to conform ourselves externally to some of His will without giving Him our whole hearts, the attempt will be frustrating, sooner or later. Halfway measures and piecemeal approaches are tempting, but they involve far more grief than wholehearted efforts. The benefits of commitment simply can’t be enjoyed by the uncommitted.
Much of the inner turmoil we experience comes from our never having fully made up our minds what to do about God. We desire Him, but not with all our hearts. Perhaps we’d say that we’ve committed ourselves to Him, but all that many of us have done is try to inject a measure of spirituality into a lifestyle that is still very much our own. We attempt to juggle God’s will and our own, and we find this trick not only very difficult to perform, but also very unpleasant and burdensome. Yet how much greater our spiritual progress and joy would be if we took Jesus’ words with real seriousness: “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it” (Luke 9:23,24).
“What does God require? Everything!” (Erwin W. Lutzer).