And Jesus, looking around, said to His disciples, How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!” The disciples were amazed at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, “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.” They were even more astonished and said to Him, “Then who can be saved?” Looking at them, Jesus said, “With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.” Peter began to say to Him, “Behold, we have left everything and followed You.” Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last, first.” Mark 10:23-31
Today's thoughts from today's verses:
Could you imagine someone saying to you before you were a believer, “Come and follow Jesus with me. It will be amazing. We will be sentenced to die and handed over to those who will execute us. They will mock us, spit on us, flog us with a whip, kill us, and someday we will be resurrected.” Not so appealing, is it? But with a bigger and better perspective, we would be able to follow Jesus Christ whole heartedly, even knowing it could include such drastic prospects. “All things are possible with God.”
It is paramount that we keep keenly aware that God is our Maker and that as our Maker, He has absolute claim to us. It only makes sense that the one who makes something ought to have full possession of that which he has made and should have it entirely and continually to use for his purposes and desires. The problem of the ages is that man goes his own way and does his own thing. Serving self and pursuing the things that satisfy self becomes our obsession. And of course since wealth is the ticket for having the things that satisfy self, having and maintaining wealth becomes all-important.
When we are caught up in wealth or even just the desire for wealth, it is extremely difficult for us to get to the spot where we can see the claim God has on us. The forgiveness of sins accomplished by Jesus on the Cross was something that was done first and foremost for God’s sake and then secondarily for our sakes. God wants to reclaim that which is His for the purposes for which He created us in the first place. The Cross is the means that God uses to bring us back under His sovereign rule and authority.
We are so oriented to ourselves that we look at the cross primarily for all the benefits it brings to us: forgiveness, cleansing, a relationship with God, God’s loving care, deliverance from hell, eternity in Heaven, etc. These things become our spiritual wealth to go along with our earthly wealth. When this happens we can be sure our self-orientation has been left untouched and we have circumvented the true call of the kingdom of God.
While the benefits of the cross are gracious provisions of God for us as His wayward creation, our primary focus must be that we have been bought back by our Creator for Him to do with us whatever He wants. When God is able to do the work in us of reorienting us to existing for Him rather than Him existing for us, a whole new world opens up, a world where, with Jesus Christ the King ruling our hearts and lives, we would be willing to follow fully in his footsteps and live completely for the kingdom of God. Jesus said, “How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God,” but he also said, “Children (his disciples), how hard it is (for you) to enter the kingdom of God!
Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:
Lord, I want to follow in your footsteps. I realize I have barely scratched the surface of knowing what that means. Please teach me and train me to walk squarely and surely on the path on which you are leading me. Help me to get past myself more than ever before. Grant the bigger and better perspective I need for living fully for you. I confess that you are King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. I choose to be a living sacrifice for you and the kingdom of God. I let go of everything (wealth) in favor of holding fast to you and all that you desire for my life. Make me a vessel of honor for your glory and help me to genuinely follow in your footsteps. Amen!
Posted on Wed, March 14, 2018
by Ken Hart