“Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.” — Matthew 22:36-38
A certain man lived in Haiti and wanted to sell his house for $2,000. Another man wanted very badly to buy it, but because he was poor, he could not afford the full price. After much bargaining, the owner agreed to sell the house for half the original price with just one stipulation: He would retain ownership of one small nail protruding from just over the door.
After several years, the original owner wanted the house back, but the new owner was unwilling to sell. So the first owner went out, found the carcass of a dead dog, and hung it from the single nail he still owned. Soon the house became unlivable, and the family was forced to sell the house to the owner of the nail.
What was wrong with letting the owner retain one small nail? What could one nail do? Even if he claimed it and wanted to remove it, it would not damage the integrity of the house. I am sure the business proposition did not seem a big deal to the buyer. What would a little nail hurt?
In the end, the nail was the item that determined the owner of the house. While the buyer hadn’t seen the big deal in letting the previous owner retain ownership of a nail, the previous owner used that nail to take over the entire house.
That story can be applied to our lives as Christians. Our “house” (our life) was once owned by the devil. The minute we were born, we became guilty and were condemned to an eternity without Christ. But Christ purchased our house, or our life, when He died on Calvary to pay for our sins. The minute we trusted Him to be our Saviour, we gave our lives to Him.
Many times, we can forget a nail. Maybe it is a thought process, an unhealthy hobby, a style of music, or something that draws us away from God. It may seem like no big deal to let the devil retain ownership of some small thing, but it could end up allowing him to retain ownership of the whole house. While we can never lose our salvation and the devil can never “own” us again, he can gain control of our lives through one little nail.
Our verses today tell us that we are to give our whole heart, soul, and mind to God. He wants every part of us. Not committing all means not committing at all. Even what seems like the smallest of things in your life is all the devil needs to cause you to fall back into sin.
What is that nail in your life? On what area of your life does the devil have a grasp? Do not give him even an inch of leeway in your life! He will try to convince you that it will not affect you, but stronger Christians than you and I have fallen because they were not fully committed to God. Commit wholly to God today and let Him hold the deed to your life. (By Dr. Paul Chappell)