22 “Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?”
23 But He detected their trickery and said to them,
24 “Show me a denarius. Whose likeness and inscription does it have?” They said, “Caesar’s.”
25 And He said to them “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”
Jesus not only encourages the following of civil laws, such as paying taxes, but uses it to demonstrate a bigger principle: to also give to God what legally belongs to Him. But what is it that belongs to Him which we are to give? If by looking at a coin we can see the identity of it’s authority, who’s identity do we find by looking at ourselves?
If we look with the right lens we can see the fingerprint of God, our creator and authority, in our being. Thus the thing that belongs to God is yourself as a born again believer. This does not mean we should desire to die and in order to give ourselves wholly to our God. No, He wants us to be useful while we are here on the Earth. God ultimately wants a family and desires that everyone would find the eternal life He offers, but it is only now in this small window of history that we may share the message of salvation in order to bring as many people in to God’s family as possible. So What does it mean to “render to God what is God’s?” it simply means to devote ourselves to obeying God’s will; to no longer live for ourselves but for Him. This one lifetime is a rehearsal for eternity.
We were made for Him
- Adam and Eve’s creation was initiated and finished by God
- God grieved when man was far from Him
- God worked to restore man to Himself
- God pursued a relationship with Israel and the Church likened to marriage
- In the end God will finally have what He has wanted – love and unity
We are bought by Him
- The highest price was paid for us – the death of the one perfect human being and of God Himself
- We are adopted by Him – we are His children now
We find all that we need in Him
- Temporary pleasures never satisfy us fully, only God can fill that place
- The purpose of life is God
So how do we do this abstract thing of giving ourselves to God? First of all it is important to understand that this is not a one time thing. You can’t just give yourself to God and the task is finished. Living for God and surrendering your future to Him is a day to day, moment to moment decision. Second, commitments, pledges, and experiences are not enough to fuel your journey in giving your life to God. It must come from your heart, which happens when you recognize truth.
There can be many steps to giving your life over to God but they all revolve around doing what God wants you do to, and trusting in God. So how do you know what God wants you to do? This seems to be such a mystery to Christians but the solution is simple: read the letters He wrote to you. In the Bible you find things like the great commission, the Sermon on the Mount, the instructions of Paul, and the commands of Jesus. These things are God’s instruction booklet for mankind, His guidelines prepare us and others for an eternity with Him. So we read the Bible and obey (John 14:15), on top of that we must develop a personal relationship with the Lord through this obedience backed up with prayer, love and faith. As we develop this walk with the Lord we will hear His voice more clearly as He instructs us on specific details of life. So first we must read the basic instructions in the Bible, than as we continue those we receive more specific guidance from the Holy Spirit for further obedience.
In obeying the instructions and commands of the Bible we will find that they are not easy, that they require personal sacrifice, and self control. This is why I use the phrase “giving your life to God” because you quite literally are giving up your life (in exchange for a new and better one). Often times when you discover what God wants you to do, it is not what you want to do. It is then that you come to a place of decision; you either follow His plan or follow your own.