While reading the word today I saw two perspectives that correspond to two different out comes.
The first is one regarding the rich man:
And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.1Mk 10:17-22 AV
The second is the buried treasure or fine pearl.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.2Mt 13:44-46 AV
The perspectives are opposites with one focused on how great the cost is and the other focused on how great the prize is. Does the focus determine the outcome? What shall I focus on; the cost or the gift? My struggle is that I’ve weighed the cost and I don’t have what is needed. I find myself left wanting. I don’t see myself as being able to make the journey. In the flesh I could muster all I have and hope that it is enough. My experience tells me it is not. I am at the point just after the rich man walks away and the disciples ask Jesus, “How then can anyone be saved?”3Mr 10:23-27 NIV Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” If I can only take hold of Jesus’ answer I’ll have what I need because there is no other way. All in or walk away?
This isn’t news to me, I’ve heard all this before. I made a choice. I get it, why am I faced with this again? Is it possible this is what goes on each time I find myself in opposition to God – like when the Holy Spirit convicts me of sin. Do I just not notice because sometimes the cost isn’t too great because I’m focused on the prize? If so why has my perspective changed? What has distracted me to take my eyes off of the Lord? Has He withdrawn from me to show me I’m lost without him? Is this a time of discipline? Or is this perhaps a time when He is close because I’m in the fire being set free?
I feel disconnected and I’ve lost a taste for the things of this world. I don’t know how to relate to my wife and children. I don’t know if its always been this way and I’m just now aware of it or if its something new.
I have hope this is for a time and God is preparing me for what is to come. I have hope He is preparing me to receive the desires of my heart.
Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.4Ps 37:4 AV
I don’t want to just enter the kingdom; I want to partake and be a part of it too! I’m not okay being on the side lines. I don’t just want to hear God say, “Welcome.” I long to hear Him say, “Welcome, good and faithful servant, enter into my rest.”5Mt 25:21 AV His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. Of what good is a table loaded down with food in preparation for a great feast if you can only look at it? Of what good am I as a Christian if I don’t have the fruit of the kingdom?
When the temple was being built wasn’t it Gods temple although He didn’t inhabit it. When did He inhabit it? Wasn’t it after it was consecrated? Does God inhabit me or is He waiting for me to live a holy life in agreement with the holiness secured through Christ. Is that why He doesn’t go with me? Does my stubbornness qualify me to be consumed by Him? In His mercy is He keeping a distance? Is that what this struggle is about? Is not my stubbornness a hindrance?
My Prayer: God, I humble myself before your majesty. I have been frivolous, rebellious and stubbornly displaced You as Lord. Please forgive me; have mercy and compassion on me. I humbly ask that you remove my hardened heart and give me a heart of flesh. I proclaim you as Lord and humbly submit to you. I renew my commitment to be obedient and follow you. I desire to be all that You created me to be. I put myself in your hands so you may finish the work that You have began. I trust you and submit to the tools, trials, and discipline you choose. My faith is in you, not in my strength, the outcome, or the circumstances. Please teach me to act when you act, speak when you speak and remain silent when you are silent. Please give me spiritual blinders so that I may never take my eyes off of You.
Thank you for your faithfulness that sustains me. Thank you for your mercy and compassion that makes a way for me. Thank you for your grace that rescues me. Thank you for your love that covers me. Amen
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed— not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence— continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling2Php 2:12 AV
We are solely responsible for what we believe. No matter who tells us something, we MUST validate the ideas and concepts within the word of God!22Co 10:5 AV Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ3Ac 17:11 NIV Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. If we do not know the word of God, we are like a ship without a rudder, the enemy will carry us off into captivity with his lies.42Ti 4:3-4 AV For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.5Joh 8:32 AV And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. We MUST desire God above all things, even above the very things of God!6Mt 6:33 AV But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. The kingdom of God does not consist of his things but of his right and authority to rule.7Mt 7:21-23 AV Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.8Lu 6:46 NIV “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?9Jas 2:19 NIV You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
Consider: If I don’t know the truth how can I recognize a lie? By reading the account of Jesus’ temptation I learn that the enemy can be very subtle, slightly twisting and taking the truth out of context in an attempt to deceive.10Lu 4:1-13 AV And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered. And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread. And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God. And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season. Jesus prevails because he is truth, the word made flesh.11Joh 1:14 NIV The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.12Joh 14:6 AV Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. The word is a person, how can I know and have a relationship with Jesus and not know the word that became flesh?
Further Consideration: How important is the word of God in my life? What role does it play? If someone looked at my life what would they conclude? Do I really believe hiding God’s word in my heart is essential?13Ps 119:11 AV Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.14Jos 1:8 AV This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
My Prayer: Lord, my failures are eclipsed by your blood and righteousness; I trust that you will complete the work that you have begun in me.15Php 1:6 AV Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ I humble myself, have your way in me. Please give me a delight in you and your word that awakens me to your call and the grace to whole heartedly respond in agreement with you! Amen.