Growing up in church, I often questioned why we couldn’t do what we wanted to do…why we couldn’t do the things we chose – especially when they didn’t involve anyone else. Who was I hurting? Who would even know? Would God care about that?
My Dad often got the majority of these questions because he was my Sunday School teacher many years. He always summed it up to…it is a heart problem. You will make decisions and do things based on what is in your heart.
At that time, it at least helped with some of my questions. But, as I grow older, it means more and more. In following Christ, our lives should reflect the character of Christ…we should care for what God cares for…we shouldn’t ignore the things that God considers important.
That means I end up loving things that I wouldn’t necessarily want to love…it means that I end up doing things that will seem crazy to the rest of the world…but right on with God.
Let’s look at a scripture…thinking about getting to the heart of things.
Today’s scripture is much like the last 2 weeks. This is one of those difficult scriptures because our first thought often is…Is Jesus asking me to sell everything I have if I follow Him? Our next question to automatically assume that Jesus wouldn’t ask us to give up our possessions…so we can just move on.
Jesus may actually ask you to give up all you have and follow Him. That may actually happen. You certainly wouldn’t be the first…and I am sure you wouldn’t be the last. There are people all over our world who have sold their homes and left the comforts of their jobs and lives in order to follow Christ to the ends of the earth. There are people listening to God and saying YES as He is asking them to step out on faith and trust Him.
The issue is not whether Jesus is asking him or us to sell everything. Jesus is calling for total surrender.
It is important that we realize that salvation isn’t about our actions. Good works do not get you into heaven. We can’t get into the game of seeing who has done the best works and comparing because no works compare to the blood of Jesus Christ.
We don’t do good works to be saved. We are saved…so we do good works. Our heart is in the right place. We are changed by the power of Christ…the Holy Spirit is working in us…we desire to reflect Him. We are changed to be more like Him because we totally surrender it all.
Look at 1 John 2:3-6
When we look at this scripture, we can easily go down a path that is not the right one. We could find ourselves looking at this scripture and identifying other people who claim one thing but live a different life.
Sins…we are quick to look at people and code them as not following…despite what they claim. Can point out what is wrong with the way they are living. No problem with that. Can look and see their fruits are not reflective of Christ.
But, it is quite a different issue when we look at ourselves….That plank in our own eye is quite large. We begin to compare sins and think about how our sin isn’t as big as someone else’s sin or we think about how terrible someone else is living but don’t want to look at ourselves. We could think that we are doing it all correct because we never take inventory…
How about caring for the poor? What about indulging in more and more stuff while ignoring the poor…How about looking at what we have and seeing if we are using it ALL for the glory of God. How are we spending our time…how are we living our lives…
Have we actually allowed Christ to change us? Are we actually following Him? Are we doing what He is saying? If not, now is the perfect time to repent of that and ask Him to change us. We want Him to change us to help us to reflect Him!
Finally, it is important not to leave discouraged…wondering how we are going to do one more thing. Don’t leave here thinking about what you need to do. How about be encouraged to know that when we come to Him with our whole hearts and totally surrender…He will come and rescue us and change us. It is about becoming more and more like Him and less and less like the world. Now that’s something to look forward to!