September 12th, 2011
When we choose to follow Christ we have to reevaluate our life and open our heart for the power of the Holy Spirit to transform us from the inside out. In order to follow Christ we must turn from our old ways and follow Him. The bible tells a story about a wealthy ruler who came to Christ and said, “I have followed all of your commandments.” Then he asked, “What else shall I do to inherit the kingdom of God?” (Matthew 19:20). Then Jesus replied in Matthew 19:21, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” This wealthy man turned and wept. He did not want to give up all his possessions in order to follow Christ.
In order to follow Christ wholeheartedly we must give up those things that we prioritize before Him. The Triune God will not accept second best. God is a jealous God. We learn about this characteristic of God in Exodus 20:5-6, “You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.” The first commandment, “Thou shall have no other god before me.” This does not apply only to the literal sense of gods, but also to things in this world that we hold as more important than God, thus categorizing “it” as a god. For instance, the bible tells us, “no one can serve two masters. You will love one and hate the other or you will be devoted to one and despise the other. No one can serve both God and money.” Matthew 6:24; Luke 16:13. Money is not a god, but you may hold it to such a high degree in your life that it becomes like a god, especially when you are not willing to let it go in order to serve and follow the Creator.
I believe we can all relate to the young ruler who wept and did not want to give up all that he had to follow Christ. We are a sinful humanity, selfish and interested in our own turmoil, successes and needs; but real living is found in the One who quenches our thirst forever; the One who makes us whole and is stronger and more permanent than death itself. He who looked death in the eye, subdued, overcame and conquered it. We serve a God who is Holy, Just and God and therefore we must set aside all things that interfere with following Christ. We cannot do this within our own power, but by the power of the Holy Spirit working within us. Philippians 4:13, “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
So what is it? We all have something to sacrifice, something in us that is hindering our relationship with Christ; stunting our growth in His Word. Father, I pray that you reveal truth to each one of us. Show us what we have put in your place. I pray Lord that you open our eyes to see and remove that which is not of you. I pray that each one of us learn to put you first in our lives. Give us a willing spirit to make sacrifices for your glory and submit to being used as a vessel for your kingdom. Mold us into servant, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, employees that fulfill the role in which you alone created us to achieve. Lord bring it to completion as you promised (Philippians 1:6).
Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. Luke 12:33
When you think about it; your sacrifice, whatever it may be is really not a sacrifice at all. In Christ we gain so much. Through Christ’s atonement on the cross we are free, forgiven, redeemed and declared righteous through the gift of grace through our Savior. Through Christ we are cleansed of the stain of sin and through Him we find life; without Christ and the gift of salvation we have nothing, but condemnation and death.