When Abram was ninety-nine years old, God showed up and said to him, "I am The Strong God, live entirely before me, live to the hilt! I'll make a covenant between us and I'll give you a huge family."
(Genesis 17:1-2 MSG)
The Lord spoke with Abram and gave two very specific expectations to him: 1) Live ENTIRELY before me; and 2) Live to the HILT. The 'entirety' of a man dedicated to living before God. This is the first part of the calling. Live - be alive, be entirely capable of vital function; exhibit vitality in your life. In other words, God was telling Abram that he wasn't an old, dried up man, incapable of doing anymore in this lifetime! You and I could take a lesson here - we still have capacity to live for God until we take our final breath on this earth! Entirely brings the idea of living completely and unreservedly. God was making it clear that service to him is not complete if there is any reservation in our heart about our commitment. There is a clear difference between commitment and perfection. Too many times we think that we are not "living" like God wants us to because we still struggle with sin in our lives - temptation is a real thing to us and gives us problems at times. God examines our heart for our commitment - how much "skin" we have in the game. He doesn't look for us to be perfect. If he did, he'd have a mighty small family!
We are to live before him - our entirety of life is to be lived before him. We could live our lives on display for the world to see, but God reminds us that the only one that really matters is him. We live for him - not for others - not even ourselves. Living to the hilt is maybe not as well understood these days, but the hilt is the handle of a sword or dagger. What is depicted here is that we are "all in". We don't hold back - just plugging into God with part of our mind, a little bit of our heart, and some of our talent. It is all or nothing with God! He is saying that we are to live to the maximum degree in him. God is really asking that we live with undivided hearts. Jesus told the disciples that man could not serve two masters at one time? It was this thought about 'entirety' he had in mind - being undivided. We cannot serve both man and God at the same time. It makes no difference if that "man" is our own selfish desires, or those demands of another. We must keep God in the center of all we do - only then will we be "all in" with him. God's call was always given without "recall" - God never went back on what he said he would do and he doesn't want us to go back on our commitment, either. We do what we can - being "all in" with God - and he does what we cannot! That is how it is in God's economy - when we are "all in", he is "all sufficient"! Just sayin!