When I was a youth pastor years ago, one of my youth group’s favorite songs was You Are My All in All (by Dennis Jernigan). The song begins with these words: You are my strength when I am weak, You are the treasure that I seek, You are my all in all… We experienced some wonderful times in God’s presence while singing that song, but I don’t think any of us really knew what the term “all in all” meant. It turns out that it comes from 1 Corinthians 15 where Paul teaches about the resurrection power of Jesus Christ and His ultimate victory over evil. He writes, “Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power… When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all” (1 Corinthians 15:24, 28). This is an astounding passage of Scripture. It tells us that Jesus is still in the process of dismantling the evil powers of this world. The kingdom of God is advancing against Satan’s kingdom and, step by step, it is taking over. A day is coming when the takeover will be complete, when everything opposed to God will have either been removed or redeemed. Then Jesus will hand over to his Father a world without evil and corruption, in which every heart is loyal to Him as Lord and king. And then God will be “all in all”, i.e. He will reign supreme everywhere. There won’t be a nook or corner anywhere in which He is not praised and adored. Seeking you as a precious jewel, Lord to give up I’d be a fool, You are my all in all… While God is not yet “all in all” (because there are many places where His influence is still not known or welcome), we can seek to have Him be “all in all” in our own lives. This goes beyond simply saying that you put God first in your life. It involves continually inviting Him to be king of every area of your life and choosing to submit to His authority in those places. We tend to compartmentalize. We have boxes for the various parts of our lives that are important to us. Typical boxes include school, career, relationship with spouse, relationship with kids, finances, leisure, etc. And then there’s the box for our relationship with God. As Christians we tend to think it’s enough to put that box before everything else. But God doesn’t want to be confined to a box in our lives, even if it’s the first box. He wants to be invited to be Lord of every box. Lord of your career, Lord of your marriage, Lord of your family, Lord of your finances, Lord of your leisure time, Lord of your hopes and dreams, Lord of your grieving, Lord of your fears, etc. He wants to be your “all in all”. And He has earned it. Taking my sin, my cross, my shame, Rising again – I bless your name, You are my all in all… I’d like to encourage you to start the New Year by taking some time to think through the various compartments of your life and then deliberately inviting Christ into them as Lord. Pray that His will would be done in each area, and choose to submit to Him this year. Be earnest about this. It’s been said that “nothing changes if nothing changes.” This just means that old habits die hard and if we don’t do something intentional, and perhaps drastic, to change things, they probably won’t change. Consider spending some time in fasting and extended prayer in the month of January. Try to get together with one or two others for prayer, encouragement, and accountability. I am confident that as we take steps to invite the Lord into every part of our lives (to be our “all in all”), He will strengthen, empower, and bless us. When I fall down, You pick me up, When I am dry, You fill my cup, You are my all in all.
By Pastor Billy Ford