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Daily Thought - We Lack What We Cling To; Pursuing The Next Level With God

Discussion in 'Thoughts for Today' started by anthony wade, Oct 12, 2012.

  1. So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” – Luke 18: 22 (NKJV)

    Even seasoned Christians should always seek a deeper level with God. We can think we have it all together spiritually, do the religious routine to perfection and yet still be lacking when it comes to what God is expecting from us. It is always dangerous to ever think we have “arrived” in our faith. Arrival beliefs lead to complacency and that leads to spiritual laziness. It is always something we need to war against in our soul. The day we stop learning should be the day that we go home to be with the Lord. Paul understood this all too well:

    I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. – Philippians 3: 12-14 (NLT)

    Paul writes this letter in chains inRomewhere he knows he will die shortly. He had completed three missionary journeys and has evangelized the known world. If there was anyone who could have felt like he had arrived – it was Paul. Yet here we see his humility before God saying he has yet to possess what Christ possessed him for! He forgets the past – even the great accomplishments which can lead to laziness – and presses forward to what God has called him for. Thank goodness he did! If he had thought he had made it and deserved a little “me time” before going home to meet Jesus, we never would have seen half the New Testament. Realize of course that Paul has no idea his letters would become the Scripture! He pursues God in faith and God rewards his efforts.

    When Joseph was first placed into prison, he was not ready for the plan God had for him. He was not ready to leadEgypt. He sat in prison for ten years while God worked on him. Maybe he had to work out his anger and bitterness towards his brothers for selling him into slavery. Maybe he was equally unforgiving when it came to Potiphar’s wife. Whatever it was that was lacking, it was still present when the cupbearer was released because he forgot Joseph for two more years! He was still lacking.

    That brings us to the key verse for today, taken from the story of the rich young ruler. This story has many lessons for us as we explore how to go to the next level God has for us. The first lesson is to make sure that we do not have so much religion that we miss out on the relationship. You see the rich ruler had plenty of religion. When he first approaches Jesus he is asking Him what he needs to do in order to inherit eternal life. Jesus tests him to see if he knew the commandments and the ruler did. But that was all he had. He did not have a relationship with God. Sometimes we can get so busy about the work for God that we neglect our relationship with Him. Our Martha is slowly killing our Mary.

    The second lesson is that the path to the next level is paved with humility. When Jesus tells him he needs to keep the commandments here is the answer from the rich ruler:

    And he said, “All these things I have kept from my youth.” – Luke 18: 21 (NLT)

    Does anyone else buy this? Within our sin nature and fallen world this man states that he has never broken a single commandment? Really? I think Jesus must have been just as incredulous as I am when I read it. We cannot come to God with a mouthful of pride in exploring the next level He might have for us. Pride blocks us from God. He is looking for the tender and humble in heart so He can lift them up into the next level. Pride confuses us into believing that it is somehow about us when it is all about Jesus.

    Then in the key verses we see the Master cut into the heart of the problem for the rich young ruler. He saw into his heart and saw that he still was lacking one thing. Not in the terms we usually consider “lacking.” There was one thing preventing him from coming to Jesus fully and that was his money. Money was an idol in this young man’s life and it was preventing him from having a deeper relationship with God. The same can go for us today. It may not be money for us. It might be lust, pride, our career, our family. It can be anything that has been trumped up in our lives to the level of an idol; which we refuse to turn over to God. It is something we are clinging to, refusing to give it up just like this man refused to give up his wealth. Joseph had to give up his anger and bitterness. Peter had to walk away from his livelihood. Abram had to leave everything he knew behind and go to a foreign land. God had a deeper and higher level for each of them to go once they were willing to let go. The rich young ruler walked away sad because he refused to let go. He chose the idol over his God. If we are not careful we can do the same thing. This is how Christians can get into a spiritual rut. They cling to the one thing that is lacking for God to take them to the next level.

    Lastly today we need to understand this requires a shift in our thinking. Jesus makes the comparison of saying to sell all of your worldly wealth and in return you will receive treasure in heaven. Giving up anything of the world will draw you closer to God. Giving up the carnal always leads to the spiritual. It is once again Jesus teaching that we need to renew our minds. We need to start valuing the eternal things of God instead of the worldly things of the devil. Now, not everyone needs to sell everything they own. This was specifically what this man refused to part with that had become idolatrous in his life. What is it for me today? What is it for you? We need to humbly realize that relationship is always better than religion but more importantly, we need to take a spiritual inventory of our life. What is it that we refuse to turn over to God completely? Whatever it is – that is what is holding back God from taking us to the next level He has for us. We need to shift our value system to the eternal and lay down before Christ the very things we cling to that keep Him at a distance. Then we will see revival. Then we will see the next level. Then we will see God. Amen.

    Rev. Anthony

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