Written By Pastor Scott Godinez,
I am entirely overwhelmed by the many, many encouraging words from everyone who spoke to me about our Youth Sunday service yesterday. With every fiber of my being I want to thank you for your graciousness and positive words! At Cornerstone we are truly blessed to have such an amazing group of students who passionately love the Lord!
As I reflect on the message from Sunday I am reminded of the impact a covenant with God can have. Across scripture God has made a variety of covenants with his people and it has always resulted in life-transforming change.
In fact, many of us have made similar life-transforming covenants with others and God: consider the covenant you make on your wedding day before God, family and friends. A lifelong vow intended to bind one to another for all time.
Often a permanent promise demands a permanent sacrifice.
Often a permanent promise demands a permanent sacrifice. We must be prepared to make sacrifices in order to preserve the integrity of our promise, and this is a good thing!
Pastor Timothy Keller, describes a gifted piano player as someone who sacrifices doing many other things in order that the pianist can instead focus exclusively on playing piano.
If you have musical aptitude, you may give yourself to practice, practice, practice, the piano for years. This is a limit on your freedom. There are many other things you won’t be able to do with the time you invest in practicing. If you have the talent, however, the discipline and limitation will unleash your ability that would otherwise go untapped. What have you done? You’ve deliberately lost your freedom to engage in some things in order to release yourself to a richer kind of freedom to accomplish other things.Timothy Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism, Pg. 45
I love this. What Keller is saying here, is that when we place restrictions on our lives, much like the way a covenant with God would restrict you in some ways, is in effect, not limiting us, but instead liberating us to pursue a richer kind of freedom with God!
Let me say it again in another way. By now you’re probably wondering what any of this has to do with “Hot Cheetos”. Allow me to share a story about a younger me…
In fourth grade I had my first taste of “Flamin’ Hot Cheetos”. The spice, the crunch, the slight saltiness: I was hooked. By high school it was common for my finger tips to be stained red from the spicy powder that covered my favorite snack. I would eat 3-4 party size bags of hot Cheetos a week!
The floor of my car was littered with empty hot Cheetos bags. It was a problem! (But I swear I could have stopped eating them anytime I wanted…maybe!)
In college I came across Jesus’ teaching about surrender.
26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:26-27
Okay, so I figured Jesus wants me to love him more than my own parents, siblings, children–Jesus wants me to even be willing to give up my life in order to be his disciple!!
And so, I decided as a new Christian in college, I should try practicing this call to surrender with something a bit easier than, well–surrendering my entire life!
I prayed for God to reveal to me anything in my life I had allowed myself to think I could not live without.
I prayed for God to reveal to me anything in my life I had allowed myself to think I could not live without. Almost immediately what came to mind was: Hot Cheetos. This was a big one! It was not only my go-to snack but it was also a resource!
I would eat Hot Cheetos to stay awake on 6-hour drives home, or late-night studying for classes, what else was I going to do to help me stay awake if I didn’t depend on these tasty, spicy snacks to keep me awake!
…oh, I guess I could rely on God instead?
…oh, I guess I could rely on God instead? And so, with my girlfriend, Marianne (future wife!) she witnessed me make a covenant with God to never eat hot Cheetos again.
It has been nearly 10 years since I made that seemingly silly vow to God. And what I have learned is this: I can never safely walk down the chip aisle at King Soopers without rebuking Satan first!
But seriously, I have learned a deeper dependence on God to support the weaknesses of my flesh, not to mention, the constant reminder every day since this lifelong “hot Cheetos-fast”, that God is faithful to provide me with everything that I need. Through this “simple” sacrifice I have learned that the more we sacrifice to God, the greater freedom we have in our relationship with Jesus. When you hold nothing back from God, there’s nothing he cannot do through you!
When you hold nothing back from God, there’s nothing he cannot do through you!
Today I want to ask if you might be willing to make a covenant with God? Ask him to reveal to you anything you think you cannot live without, and seek his guidance on how to resolve the imbalance. Jesus alone requires everything from us, but, in history’s greatest exchange, Jesus gives us everything and eternity in return.
What are you willing to surrender today?