"For the LORD your God is gracious and compassionate, and will not turn His face away from you if you return to Him." -- 2 Chronicles 30:9b, NASB)
Fear of commitment or of having to give up that which we love is perhaps the greatest hindrance to having a personal relationship with the Lord. We believe in God, but cannot quite bring ourselves to wholly commit ourselves to him because we are afraid we will have to give up certain things we love doing, people we enjoy associating with, or control of our lives. Yet often those are the very things which stand between us and the truly abundant life Jesus speaks of in John 10:10. He says, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."
I have been a Christian nearly all my life, receiving Jesus as my Savior at a very early age. As a teenager, I rededicated my life to him and was very active in my church youth group, faithfully serving Him and studying his Word. When I left the sheltered environment of home to attend college, however, I was pulled away by experiences I had not known before and began a seven-year downward spiral into a very sinful existence, which left me stained and scarred and could have ended very badly for me had I not embraced the truth that God is indeed gracious and compassionate and will not turn his face away from those who return to him. It was at that low point of my life, recognizing my sin for what it was and realizing that my only hope was the redeeming love of Christ, that I fully surrendered my life to him with nothing held back.
Those who walk in full surrender to Jesus have learned, as I have, that the joy and reward of being obedient to God's Word far outweigh the sacrifice of those things we once considered priceless possessions. Where once we considered freedom to be the ability to do what we wanted to do, we have learned that true freedom comes in knowing that God is pleased by our obedience and rewards those who seek him wholeheartedly. Only when we turn loose of those things which are contrary to his Word and walk in full surrender to him, will we know true joy and lasting peace.
God held nothing back, even the life of his only Son, when he set out to claim us as his own. If God was willing to sacrifice everything for us, why should we not sacrifice everything for him?