Why is it Difficult to be "Sold Out" for Jesus?

Why is it Difficult to be "Sold Out" for Jesus? - Grace Fox

Rather than walking in complete surrender to Jesus Christ, we often withhold things we hold near and dear. We’re afraid God will demand too much, and its cost.

Followers of Christ are familiar with the term “sold out for Jesus.” It means we’re completely surrendered to Him. Our money, time, dreams, relationships, possessions—everything about us belongs to Him and is readily available for His purposes.

We’re familiar with the term, but quite honestly, living up to its meaning presents a challenge. Why? Because we’re by nature a fearful bunch. It started back in the Garden of Eden when the serpent planted seeds of doubt in Eve’s mind about God’s goodness.

One man’s response to Jesus

Mark 10:17-25 tells the story of the rich young ruler who asked Jesus how to inherit eternal life. Jesus told him to go and sell his possessions, give the money to the poor, and then follow Him.

The young man’s face fell, and he walked away from Christ. He wanted assurance of eternal life, but Jesus wanted more from him—He wanted the man’s total commitment. He wanted him to be “sold out.”

Our pastor preached on this passage yesterday. He pointed out something that I’d not noticed before. He directed the congregation to Mark 10:21 where it says:

Jesus felt genuine love for this man as he looked at him. “You lack only one thing,” he told him. “Go and sell all you have and give the money to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.

What’s the significance of this?

Jesus’ genuine love for the man motivated Him to require total surrender. He knew being “sold out” for Him would be in his best interest. He knew total commitment would bring joy and peace and abundant life. He knew unconditional devotion would result in obedience and the blessings it brings.

Too bad the rich young ruler didn’t see things the same way.

Too bad we don’t see things the same way, either.

Afraid of the cost

Rather than walking in complete surrender to Jesus Christ, we often withhold things we hold near and dear. We’re afraid God will demand too much, and we’re afraid of the cost.

Why is that?

Because we don’t understand God’s goodness and His genuine love for us. We, like Eve, doubt His character. For some strange reason, we think we can provide for our needs better than He can, and we think we can muster enough wisdom and strength to do life well on our own. We’re content to settle for eternal life when Jesus wants to offer us much more.

The thought of being “sold out” for Jesus was too much for the rich young ruler to comprehend because he didn’t understand God’s limitless love for him.

Let’s not repeat his mistake. Let’s choose to believe that God’s heart is filled with goodness toward us, and let’s give Him our everything in return.

Know you are loved,


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  1. The rich man was seeking assurance of his eternity, like all of us. So how do I sell everything and follow Jesus. You leave no explanation on how it is for most of us in America to be able to sell everything and follow Jesus.

    1. Hi Chuck. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. You ask a valid question. I don’t believe that being “sold out” for Jesus means we must literally sell everything we own to follow Him. I DO believe we need to leave our money and material possessions, our time, and our talents in an open hand–willing to let Him do with these things whatever He wishes. In the case of the rich young ruler, perhaps Jesus referred specifically to money and possessions because He knew that they meant alot to this man. If he was willing to give them up for Jesus’s sake, then that would be evidence of his unconditional love for Him. He wanted to test the young man’s heart and motivations.

      Personally, following Jesus has cost me something in several significant ways. In 1996, my husband gave up a lucrative engineering career and we sold our four-year-old custom built waterfront home to enter career ministry with no salary. Taking that position meant moving our children away from everything familiar, and leaving friends and family behind. We were thrust into the position of trusting God for life’s basics such as food and clothing for our children. Years later, being “sold out” for Jesus cost me the privilege of attending my father’s funeral. He died in Canada while I was ministering overseas, and I was unable to return home in time for the service.

      Being “sold out” looks different for different people, but bottom line, it’s about being willing to do whatever He asks of us. Does this answer your question?

      1. I’m glad I ran across this post.. I am now in the process of total surrender to God. My husband has already totally surrendered he don’t talk, buy etc without God leading him.. The thing I keep holding onto and it hurts is my family (my mom and dad) I was very close to him and just to be honest I put them above God 🙁 I was raised “going to church” but not “total surrender” I was raised in a baptist church and of course they believe in “once saved always saved” I however questioned that and I do not believe that way. But I did always have the mentality because I wanted to live the way I wanted to that yes, no matter what I was gonna make it to heaven. But praise the lord God came and rescued me from sin, sent me a godly/prophet husband and set me on the strait path. But now I’m having to let my family go and it hurts and times I want to fight with my husband and tell him that’s not what I’m supposed to do. I’m not really sure what I’m asking I just need help and lots of prayers. I know that Living for God is amazing and I wouldn’t trade it. And it’s all about the kingdom!! Why is it so hard to let people you love go?

        1. Hi Mandy:

          Thanks for stopping by. I’m so glad you found this post and feel free to talk here. If you want to talk further but prefer a private form, you can email me at [email protected]

          For now, I’ll refer to your question, “Why is it so hard to let people you love go?” I’m curious to know what “letting go” looks like in your situation.

          When I think of “letting go” of the ones we love, I think of releasing my desire to control them because I think I know what’s best for them. I also think of learning to trust God for their well-being (again, this is hard because I think I know what’s best). Fear is often the cause for our difficulty in letting go in those scenarios. We fear to let go lest God will allow something hurtful in their lives. We think we can protect them better than He can.

          Does this make sense? Does it apply to your situation?

        2. Thank for the opportunity to read by you. It hurts really, but the reward out weighs the hurt. May God grant you all encompass wisdom to sail through.

    2. Build a relationship with Him and in doing this Trust will be establishhished allowing us to give our all up and follow Him who is faithful and just to say the very least

  2. Dear Grace,
    I am following the Holy Spirits leading and it has led me down path after path. The first that woke me up was “why prayer is so important and how to pray.” The second path I am on is “why is it so hard to be a Christian.” Lately this path has me examining spiritual warfare and man’s fallen nature which leads to my latest question … “What does sold out mean.”

    1. Hi Dave:

      I’m so sorry for this delayed response. Technology and time together haven’t worked well in this case! Perhaps you’ve already drawn a conclusion about what it means to be sold out for God. Or–perhaps that’s still open for discussion. Assuming it is–I believe being sold out for Christ means that we withhold nothing from Him. We allow Him full access to our finances, time, hobbies, dreams and passions, relationships–everything about us. We recognize that everything we are and possess comes from Him and belongs to Him, and we trust Him enough to say yes to whatever He asks us to do even if it seems impossible or doesn’t make sense. What are your thoughts?

  3. I appreciate your post and think you’re right on. I’ve been a believer for 37 years but I’ve never quite been sold out. Meaning, I’ve always held something back. For me, it’s been tv and movies. I believed the lie that I could manage the incongruity of believing in God, yet still wanting to satisfy my craving for entertainment. It’s like living a double life and it’s completely unsatisfying.

    Making the decision to abandon my tv and movie habits; those shows that require me to compromise and stifle my relationship with God… repenting and saying “no more” has been the most liberating and satisfying spiritual experience I never knew.

    I’m sold out now. Nothing is more important than intimacy with Jesus. I am a slave to Christ and have never felt so free.

    1. Hi Steve. Thanks for posting here. I appreciate your thoughts on this subject. I think it’s great that nothing’s more important to you than intimacy with Jesus. Being “sold out” for Him–being His slave–is indeed liberating. As believers, we are not our own. We belong to Christ, and we experience His richest blessings when we give Him access to every part of who we are. That’s what the abundant life is about!

  4. Wow! Just wow! I woke up this morning with a thought on being sold out to Jesus. I know the things I have to let go of and then follow Jesus completely but like you have rightly pointed out, it’s kinda difficult because we constantly war with our flesh. I could hear God speak to me this morning saying ” if I could give him all my time , like if I could live in him such that my sub conscious reacts positively to him or anything that concerns him at anytime , I would see his hand more in my life than I am already doing so.” He went further to say that ” God doesn’t want to give you a better job because it won’t change your mindset, He wants to come into the little salary earning job you do and then work from there. He wants to make you great from there as He is the one who is capable of transforming anything. HE CAN MAKE YOU RICH FROM THAT LITTLE YOU EARN but can you be sold out to him?” I know what I have to let go and I know the things and people I hold dear which would suffer if I let go but God is calling on me to let go. I need prayers and a guide on how to be completely sold out- a training on how to follow him completely….

    1. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. It sounds like God is working in your life in a sweet way. Ultimately He wants an intimate relationship with you, and willingness to surrender everything to Him is part of that pathway.

      As you consider your job in this context, or perhaps your aspirations for a better job, know that He knows your needs and promises to meet them. He might be asking you to stay in a little-salary job because He wants you to learn to rely on Him more fully as your Provider. Becoming rich from that little-paying job might not have anything to do with financial gain but everything to do with knowing Him more intimately. The more you know Him, the more you’re able to trust Him and the more you’ll be willing to do anything and go anywhere for Him.

  5. Amen. And regarding how to be sold out, we will eventually run out of our own passion. As you say, it’s more about trusting God’s goodness rather than performance-based acceptance. And it’s trusting he knows what’s best for us vs our independent attempts through sin.
    I love times of passion for God, but my higher goal is to depend on God instead of trying to maintain a spiritual crescendo. Or passion and emotion can run out. In the middle of one of God’s lessons when we’re face-to-face again with the choice to trust God or to once again try things our way, as if that has ever worked, my money is on learning how to TRUST God. Watch this: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Rfy03PEVUhQ&feature=share

    1. My heart’s desire is to go deeper with the Lord. That means acknowledging my dependence on Him for everything. Everything. Even my ability to take my next breath. I cannot do anything on my own. He is my life. Being sold out for Him means walking with Him in moment-by-moment communication and obedience, through highs and lows. Sounds like you want the same. God bless you!

  6. I tend to think sold out for Jesus isn’t just talking about possessions but also our time. How often do we do something for God or our church or even God stuff in our community when it suits our timetable.

    1. You’re exactly right, Lynn. Being sold out for Jesus means we present ourselves to Him with no strings attached. We belong to Him and are ready and available to do His bidding whatever that looks like.

  7. Hi Grace, I’m smiling at how small the world is while reading your blog. When you have time, please check out the image, “Quandary” on my website. Then, if you will connect directly to me by email, I’ll share a short film I’m about to release that somewhat mimics your blog today.

  8. There are some of us that are not which per se but the little we have is a lot to us and at certain points in time we will not give it up. Yes, because we have no trust in Jehovah Jirah, we hoard. Like the woman with just enough flower to make one cake for her and her son. Grant it, her initial thought was to for self preservation. Look at the reward she received. Like Job. Sometimes the Lord allow those things to be taken away before you that realize originally it was a gift anyway from Him! Blessings!

    1. Hi Victor. It’s good to remember that everything we have comes from the Lord, like you said. Even the air we breathe comes from Him. He is our faithful provider and knows what we need. We can trust Him.

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