Almost has to be one of the saddest words. Studies show that bronze medalists are significantly happier than silver medalists. Silver medalists almost won gold, where bronze medalists made it to the medal stand. Or almost getting the A, the promotion, the cure, the ring, the prayed for child, the thing.
Then Agrippa said unto Paul, “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.” (Acts 26:28)
A little less than. Nearly. Short of the mark. Almost.
Paul makes his case to Agrippa. And though Agrippa is intrigued and likely even believes, he doesn’t go all the way. Instead, he walks away. The saddest almost of them all.
He who is almost persuaded is almost saved, and to be almost saved is to be entirely lost. Time and again we are told there are two sides, two paths, two gates and you can’t almost be on one. There is no third middle group. It is eternal life or eternal suffering. A sheep or a goat (Matthew 25).
Agrippa was almost persuaded, but he wanted to keep living his sinful life. Agrippa was almost persuaded, but he didn’t want to look the fool like Festus thought of Paul. Agrippa was almost persuaded, but he was too proud to submit. Agrippa was almost persuaded, but he saw his life in pomp and Paul’s in chains. Who knows what was keeping Agrippa from going from almost to heck yes. Life after death for Agrippa will lack pomp, freedom, joy, goodness, peace, love…because of almost.
And even at a micro level in our personal lives, “almost” makes us think we can do things on our own without God. We almost find that joy. We almost find that peace. We almost are content. We feel like we are getting so close; we can see it and taste it. But the line keeps moving. There is always that one more thing that keeps joy, peace, contentment at bay. The only way is full surrender. In this life and looking forward to the life to come.
I love when God gives gut check opportunities. Am I almost in or am I all in? Is Jesus almost the Lord of my life? Am I almost surrendered? Am I almost submitting? Am I almost witnessing to those God has consistently nudged me to witness to? God, give me the faith and courage to turn my almost into an absolutely all in!
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