Monday, January 3, 2011

Living Radically For Christ Pt. 6

How does God set our lives on fire for His glory?  How can we become action oriented in response to God's call on our lives?  How is this even possible?  God's calling on our lives should reflect some direct action on our part, and we will finally begin to notice what it takes for God to set our hearts on fire for him.  Luke 14:33 will lead us to the answer.  It says this, "So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple."  After reading this, each one of you are probably rolling your eyes at me and beginning to get teary eyed.  Oh yeah, Josh is going to tell us that we need to sell ALL our possessions, and give all we have to the poor.  We are going to be stripped down to the poverty level (Waaaaa, *crying like a baby*).  As a matter of fact, before you tune out, I have not said anything yet.  So, hold onto your horses and pay attention, because this ride is going to be rather painful.   

Now, before we begin looking at a parallel passage, I need to ask a question.  What is our direct motivation underlying our potential choices and actions.  Is it to glorify God?  Is it to be noticed by others, so others would praise you?  Is it to withhold your weekly Sunday offerings from God in order to buy a new car?  Is it to play video games when your parents told you not to play because you had to finish your homework?  What is it? What is your treasure at the moment?  What is your urging desire at the moment that you so desperately want to fill?   

What does the well-known story of the rich young ruler tell us about this?  Let's find out as we begin in Luke 18:18, "And a ruler asked him, 'Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?'  And Jesus said to him, 'Why do you call me good?  No one is good except God alone.  You know the commandments: Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.'  And he said, 'All these I have kept from my youth.'  When Jesus heard this, he said to him, "One thing you still lack.  Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.'  But when he heard these things he became very sad for he was extremely rich."  

What is the point of this passage?  What was his treasure?  His treasure was material wealth and possessions, right.  Jesus, knowing the rich young ruler's heart, penetrated down to the deep recesses of his heart in order that Jesus would be the sole housekeeper of the rich young ruler's heart.  Let's look at another passage emphasizing this same topic.  Luke 12:32-34 says, "Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.  Sell your possessions, and give to the needy.  Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys.  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."

If your treasure is money, the state of your heart will be money laden.  If your treasure is attention, your heart will not be satisfied until someone or something gave you your much-needed attention.  If your treasure is Christ, your heart will be satisfied in Him alone.  Whatever it may be, the ultimate treasure of your heart shows exactly where your passions and desires lie.  It is that simple.  In the rich young ruler's case, he consistently set his heart on gaining possessions by the multitude.  He was literally obsessed with building his material wealth.  Because of this, Jesus knew what it would take to gain full, complete access into his heart.  The only way was to make him sell all his possessions and give to the poor.  His heart desired material wealth, and Jesus' desire was to tear that stronghold down in his life.  So, Christ could attain total access of his heart and change him from the inside out.  To literally consume every bit of his heart that their would be no room or desire for anything else, but Christ.  That is what Christ wanted for him. 

Jesus also wants to be the sole master housekeeper of your heart.  He does not want to play second fiddle to any other prized treasure you may have.  He wants all of you, he wants your whole heart, he wants to consume your heart with Himself, he wants Him to be your ultimate desire.  So, when Jesus says anyone of you who does not renounce all he has cannot be my disciple, he means that if you do not renounce every treasure within your heart that stands in the gap between you having all of Him, you cannot be his disciple.  Christ does not want a lukewarm follower.  He either wants all of you or none of you.  Somewhere in between will not cut it.  You are either for him or against him.  Not, I sometimes go to church, and I love God some of the time.  Why not all the time?  He gave His life, his all for you.  If Christ did not give His all for us, I can understand loving him some of the time (even then I would still give my all to Him, but that is beside the point).   But, NO!!!  HE SACRIFICED HIS WHOLE BODY TO SAVE YOU A SINNER.  HE GAVE HIS ALL FOR YOU, a guilty, depraved, vile sinner you are.  And, not only that, He imputed His perfect righteousness to you, so that you can be adopted into His family.  What is this kind of Giver?  A giver of such a kind, who gives all and expects something in return.  No, not even close.  He is a Giver, who gives all and commands of us to do a few things not on our own strength, but through His strength alone (Phil. 4:13).   

This Giver demands your whole heart.  He demands the entirety of your heart, so He could set you own fire.  So, the world would not see your strength, but God's strength working through you.  When they (the world) ultimately see God's strength working through a transformed life, they will want to know who this God is.  They will want to have the same passion, yearning, and desire for God.  God wants to set your heart on fire, so He could set other hearts on fire.  When hearts are constantly being fired up all around a country, a chain reaction starts and a revival begins to surface, a country begins to change for the glory of God.  When we live radically in the worldly sense and normally in the biblical sense, God sets our hearts on fire to further His kingdom.  His purposes and His plans become our own.  Give Him your whole heart and seek Him as your only treasure.  As Sanctus Real says in one of their songs, "I am a treasure in the arms of Christ."  We are a treasure in His arms, but is He our treasure.

Sola Deo Gloria!!!!        



Sophie said...

Joshua-I am really enjoying this series! Thanks for your passion that is clearly shining through these posts! Relationship with God is a treasure, and let us seek it as such! May nothing else satisfy us-ever! Nothing else is enough! Nothing else is as valuable!
Keep it up! These posts are a blessing!

Joshua said...

I definitely appreciate all the encouragement. With God's continued blessing and help, I will write to the best of my ability for His glory. Thanks for commenting. :)

Lilac Bud Gal said...

Thank you for this series. It really has helped to change my perspective. I used to always think that I just needed to "blend in", in a way, and not cause any great commotion, unless something was terribly wrong (in other words, if blending in required me to sin, then forget it and stand out). However, as I thought about it more, everything about the world is "terribly wrong" per se because Jesus hasn't established His kingdom yet. So, according to that point of view, I should definitely be standing out and living radically in the world's eye, and normally in God's eye!
Thanks, again, for sharing. God has definitely blessed you by giving you the gift of writing these- then I got blessed by being able to read them!!

In Christ's Service,