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Part 3, “Do you love me more?” Part 3, “Do you love me more?”

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Part 3, “Do you love me more?”

Posted by: admin on Sun, Jul 5, 2009

Ron Schwartz

Part 3, “Do you love me more?”
 
 
Ron Schwartz
July 3, 2009
ron@ronschwartz.net
http://www.ronschwartz.net/Thoughts.htm
 
 
John 21:15
After breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love me more...”
(The Message Bible)
 
If there is but one question which Jesus is asking every Christian who claims His name it is this: “do you love me more?”  Like Peter, all Christians love God. The question isn’t whether or not they love God, but if they love God more?
 
 
Introduction
 
Mark 10:17-22
As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. "Good teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
"Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.'"
"Teacher," he declared, "all these I have kept since I was a boy."
Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
At this the man's face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
(New International Version)
 
Lets’ consider the event recorded in this passage. A young Jewish man – an avid student of the scripture – came to Jesus looking for an answer. He possessed great wealth, which enabled him to seek education at the finest schools in Israel. He was passionate in his desire to serve God. Yet in seeking out the wisdom from the most prominent teachers of the land he was left with a feeling that “there must be something more.” 
 
He was a loyal and disciplined student of the law. He kept it with zeal and fervor. However, even after obeying its precepts with unbridled devotion, he felt incomplete – almost dead inside. Then one day he heard about a teacher whose teaching centered on God’s kingdom and life everlasting. It wasn’t the typical “dissection of the law” diatribe that was emblematic of prominent scholars. This teacher seemed to present himself as an authority of the law, with authority greater than that of Moses.  He would say, “You’ve heard it taught: an eye for an eye. BUT I SAY to turn the other cheek!”  When it came to the cold harsh reality of the law and what it lacked, he seemed to breathe life into it. It was as if this teacher knew his heart. 
 
Now Jesus didn’t teach like any other teachers of His day. Jesus taught from a unique perspective of the scripture. Though considered a Rabbi, He lived and taught on the fringe of heresy, and His teaching bordered on being radical fanaticism.  Consequently, the emptiness in the seeking heart of the young man gravitated toward the promise of life from Jesus’ teaching. 
 
When the young man asked Jesus about how to receive eternal life, Jesus almost dismissed him as just another Jewish teacher looking to trip Him up and make for himself a name.  So Jesus replied according to the scripture quoting the law. But something in the young man’s response caught the attention of Jesus. He used the word “I.”  “I’ve faithfully kept the law my entire life and I haven’t experienced the life of which you speak.  There must be something more.  There must be something I lack. There must be something I’ve missed!” 
 
His voice echoed with desperation. This wasn’t a young leader looking to make a name for himself. This was a true seeker of God. He just didn’t know it. Seeing the essence of his heart caused Jesus to pause and study him. Jesus connected with the love he had for God. It was their common bond and He loved him in return. Jesus understood that the emptiness which the young man felt was the limit of his love for God. Exactly how much did he love God? If faced with the true extent of his love, would he change or walk away? Did his love for God transcend that of his earthly pleasures? In short, “did he love God more?”
 
“Okay,” Jesus said with an approving nod. “You want eternal life?”
 
The young man nodded back with expectation written all over his face. “I want eternal life!” he exclaimed and pounded one fist into an open hand.
 
“You shall have it then. Go home. Gather all your possession, and sell it all. Then take the money and contribute every penny to the poor,” Jesus said. He then paused to allow the magnitude of His words sink in.
 
The young man took a step back in silence. His face betrayed his initial shock and surprise. Then slowly the expectation on his countenance faded and he turned and walked away.
 
Did you ever wonder what about this young man revealed the fact that he was wealthy, or perhaps more importantly, that he was in love with his wealth? Did he try to impress Jesus by wearing fine garments? Was he adorned with jewels and escorted by servants? Was his skin soft and his nails manicured? What is apparent is that he saw no connection between his love for his material wealth and his love for God. One had nothing to do with the other.  But when Jesus implied a conflict of interest between his love for God and his love for wealth, he lost heart.
 
If there is one account in the New Testament that best epitomizes western Christianity it is this story. Like the young man western Christians desire a religion that will supplement their being. They shun an invasive faith that disrupts their lives. Western Christians are in love with far too many things other than the things of God. They are not like the rich young man.  They are the rich young man. 
 
Contemporary Christians accept a subjective form of moral decency as the price for eternal life, and are unwilling to give up the things they love the most – just like the rich young man. They view “taking up their cross” as an additional action that is added to all the other things in their lives which they love. As they see it, as long as they serve God then everything else in their lives (which serve their happiness) also serves God. But that is not what Jesus conveyed to the rich young man. According to Jesus, everything that once served their happiness must now serve God.
 
This is too much for most Christians to bear, so they like the rich young man turn aside from following Christ and go their own way. Today our churches and pulpits are full of Christians who have abandoned the teaching of Jesus in favor of a self-serving gospel.  As a result, western Christianity rejects any teaching that is invasive to their personal lives. They embrace a Christianity that simply bolts on to their life as just another component that enables their pursuit of happiness.
 
Western Christians stand in bitter contrast to the Christianity Jesus taught.  Jesus taught that our love for God cannot be a component of our lives - it must consume our lives. And that our love for God cannot coexist with other gods that sit on the throne of our heart – it must rule them. Western Christianity has manufactured an understanding God that makes exceptions to His rules. They present a God that loves them so much that He no longer cares if He is loved. Their concept of God puts them on the throne and God in service to them. 
 
 
The Missing Piece
 
Not unlike the rich young man of this story, contemporary Christians have a deluge of teaching at their disposal. As a result, the common Christian is more knowledgeable about “God things” than their counterpart from any preceding generation. Yet for all their knowledge they ache with a hunger that cannot be satisfied with the intellectual stimuli they receive from their Christian media. 
 
Many Christians stumble around in perpetual confusion from the varying and conflicting opinions of men.  Truth becomes nothing more than an argument or doctrinal position taught by men.  Since these conflicting views of truth are attributed to the Holy Spirit many Christian conclude that following the leading of the Spirit is dangerous. 
 
Christians like this never learn that life everlasting cannot be found sitting in a pew listen to the pontification of a scholar enunciating a dissection of God’s law or recipes for virtuous living. However, occasionally there comes a seeker who tires of the endless disquisitions of men.  Like the rich young man they’ve heard all sermons, read all the books, and found the end of man’s intellect. They realize that for all their searching and learning they are no closer to being a spiritual being then when they began. They eventually realize that fleshly men cannot birth the Holy Spirit in their lives. So they set out to find the missing piece to the meaning of life everlasting.
 
To go beyond the opinions and teaching of men requires the seeker to step out from among the roaring masses and go against the tide of popular opinion. He must be determined to march to the beating of a different drum.  And, like Jesus, he must be ready to be labeled a renegade and rebel. 
 
If you insist on clinging to the safety of man’s opinions then chances are that you value your religion over a relationship with God. If the time you spend in intellectual study (i.e. reading Christian media or listening to various teachers) outweighs the time you spend with God, then your form of Christianity is something born from your intellect and not your heart. This is a very important distinction, because that which comes from our intellect merely adds to our life whereas that which comes from our hearts consumes us. If your Christianity is intellectual, it is little more than a bolted-on religion, and this is why you are forever searching for answers which seem to forever elude you. If your form of Christianity is intellectual then it will be something you practice and not something that defines you. 
 
This was the challenge the rich young man faced.  He loved God.  He loved his religion.  But he loved his own life more.  His love for God did not define him.  It added to him. Likewise Christians love their learning from teachers and other forms of media more than spending time in the Spirit learning from Him. If Jesus was to say, “Go sell all your books, cancel the internet, and come and learn from me,” most Christians would turn away in bewilderment.
 
God cannot be relegated to just a certain part of your life.  If He is, then your life will define what He is to you, and not what you will become through Him. In other words, your life will define God rather than be defined by God, in which case God is not your greatest love.
 
 
Your Greatest Love
 
1 Corinthians 8:3
But if any man love God, the same is known of him.
 
This scripture is not talking about the general love that all Christians have for God. It is talking about the person for whom God is their greatest love - whose love for God defines every aspect of their life.
 
Why is it so important to God that He be your greatest love?  If He is indeed humble, why does He compete with the other loves of your life?  Especially since the love for your family and nation is not a bad thing. 
 
Your greatest love sets the boundaries and direction for your life. It is where your industry is spent.  It defines who you are and what you shall become. It frames every other love of your life. 
 
If God is your greatest love, then your love for your spouse and children will reflect His mercy and kindness.  Your love for the world will be reflected in your charity and witness.  Your love for riches will lack materialism and greed.  Your love for your own life will reflect God’s character to all mankind. 
 
All the other loves in your life roll up into your greatest love. Your greatest love will frame the way in which you love your friends, family, job, and the world.  Even your form of pleasure and recreation is defined by your great love. Therefore it is easy to understand why God MUST be your great love. For Him to be anything less would mean that something else defines what He is and what He is allowed to be in your life.
 
If your spouse is your greatest love, then – providing your spouse is a godly person – your life will tend to reflect their godly virtues. However, if your spouse is not a godly person, then your values will tend to reflect ungodliness. Your values and virtues will be more a reflection of them than God. If your greatest love is the material comforts of this world, then your life will tend to reflect greed, and the car you drive and the home in which you live will reflect extravagance and luxury. If however, God is your greatest love, then your life will be reflective of His mercy and grace. Your actions will be defined by His values and love. And all the other loves of your life will be defined by godliness. 
 
 
“Come up hither…”
 
Revelation 4:1
After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither
 
Here we find that God requires us to rise above the earthly tides of men’s wisdom and learn from Him. Contemporary Christians have a different objective. They don’t want let go of their earthly affections. Instead of rising above the carnality of this life into true life in the Spirit, there exists a concerted effort to bring God down to them.
 
Christian media produces mountains of material while pastors and churches provide teaching and information on every subject. By providing information on virtually every subject, they have made obsolete the need to ascend up to be with God. By pulling down “God things” from the heavenly realm where the Spirit dwells, Christian media, churches, and Christian teachers have made it possible for contemporary Christians to remain rooted to this world and hang on to their worldly pleasures. Christians don’t need to grow up or change. They are able to remain carnal and worldly minded and yet bolt on to their lives the “God things” they receive from Christian teachers.
 
What we find today are Christian leaders who have become experts at pulling down “God things” for their followers.  These things look and sound like living water but disappear almost as soon as they are received. True living water causes you not to thirst again, but these God things only make the parasite Christian more and more thirsty for the imitation living water that church leaders peddle. 
 
Rather than growing up in the Spirit and ascending up to be with God, contemporary Christians have developed a symbiotic relationship with their Christian leaders.  They slowly turn into parasites that cannot live on their own. They maintain a pseudo-Christian life style by nursing from the spiritual life of their pastor or church host. This is the consequence of a Christian society that will not trade in that which they cannot keep for that for which they cannot lose. They want the best of both worlds and, as a result, will eventually lose both.
 
Count the Cost
 
Matthew 7:7-8
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”
 
Many Christians embrace scripture such as this because it embodies their concept of God.  To them He is little more than a genie who is at their beck and call.  His purpose is to serve their happiness, and His longing is to make their dreams come true. Christians who hold this view of God don’t understand the underlying theme of the New Testament, which is for everything there is a cost.
 
The rich young man came to Jesus asking, seeking and knocking. What he found was the answer to the longing of his heart.  He also discovered that there was a cost.  Any Christian seeking for something more than what contemporary Christianity has to offer will find that sacrifice is a companion to life everlasting. 
 
The young man would probably never have come to know the extent of his failure if he hadn’t pushed beyond the veil of his religion. It is only when he stepped away from the rank-and-file and reached for perfection that he discovered failure and ultimately judgment. He could have avoided judgment by simply mixing in with his contemporaries.  He could have finished his education, become a distinguished member of his synagogue, married and raised a family, and then eventually in his old age he could become an elder of Israel.  Unknowingly he stepped out of religion. He wanted life, the likes of which he saw in Jesus. 
 
Like the young man, those who seek God unknowingly separate their selves to God and ultimately become His instrument. God will purify His instruments.  If you’ve stepped out from among the tide of Christianity in search for the real essence of life everlasting then take a deep breath and brace yourself.  You will come to know God’s judgment in your life.  Everything that is not surrendered to the lordship of the Holy Spirit will be brought to light, and you, like the young man, will be given the opportunity to surrender it to God or walk away in failure. 
 
The story actually has a happy ending. There is evidence that the rich young man was Mark.  Not only did he eventually surrender his life and riches to God, but he became one of the great founding fathers of the Church. When he sold his possessions and riches, he sold himself into the service of God.  Eventually he discovered the fullness of life everlasting, the answer to his questions, and the aspiration of his searching heart. What he found was an incomprehensible and unexplainable relationship with God that could only be found when he let go of this world and became willing to love God more!
 
Take care and be blessed my friends!
Ron
 
·  You have my permission to post
Part 3, “Do you love me more?”





Ron Schwartz

July 3, 2009

ron@ronschwartz.net

http://www.ronschwartz.net/Thoughts.htm





John 21:15

After breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love me more...”

(The Message Bible)



If there is but one question which Jesus is asking every Christian who claims His name it is this: “do you love me more?” Like Peter, all Christians love God. The question isn’t whether or not they love God, but if they love God more?





Introduction



Mark 10:17-22

As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. "Good teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"

"Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.'"

"Teacher," he declared, "all these I have kept since I was a boy."

Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

At this the man's face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

(New International Version)



Lets’ consider the event recorded in this passage. A young Jewish man – an avid student of the scripture – came to Jesus looking for an answer. He possessed great wealth, which enabled him to seek education at the finest schools in Israel. He was passionate in his desire to serve God. Yet in seeking out the wisdom from the most prominent teachers of the land he was left with a feeling that “there must be something more.”



He was a loyal and disciplined student of the law. He kept it with zeal and fervor. However, even after obeying its precepts with unbridled devotion, he felt incomplete – almost dead inside. Then one day he heard about a teacher whose teaching centered on God’s kingdom and life everlasting. It wasn’t the typical “dissection of the law” diatribe that was emblematic of prominent scholars. This teacher seemed to present himself as an authority of the law, with authority greater than that of Moses. He would say, “You’ve heard it taught: an eye for an eye. BUT I SAY to turn the other cheek!” When it came to the cold harsh reality of the law and what it lacked, he seemed to breathe life into it. It was as if this teacher knew his heart.



Now Jesus didn’t teach like any other teachers of His day. Jesus taught from a unique perspective of the scripture. Though considered a Rabbi, He lived and taught on the fringe of heresy, and His teaching bordered on being radical fanaticism. Consequently, the emptiness in the seeking heart of the young man gravitated toward the promise of life from Jesus’ teaching.



When the young man asked Jesus about how to receive eternal life, Jesus almost dismissed him as just another Jewish teacher looking to trip Him up and make for himself a name. So Jesus replied according to the scripture quoting the law. But something in the young man’s response caught the attention of Jesus. He used the word “I.” “I’ve faithfully kept the law my entire life and I haven’t experienced the life of which you speak. There must be something more. There must be something I lack. There must be something I’ve missed!”



His voice echoed with desperation. This wasn’t a young leader looking to make a name for himself. This was a true seeker of God. He just didn’t know it. Seeing the essence of his heart caused Jesus to pause and study him. Jesus connected with the love he had for God. It was their common bond and He loved him in return. Jesus understood that the emptiness which the young man felt was the limit of his love for God. Exactly how much did he love God? If faced with the true extent of his love, would he change or walk away? Did his love for God transcend that of his earthly pleasures? In short, “did he love God more?”



“Okay,” Jesus said with an approving nod. “You want eternal life?”



The young man nodded back with expectation written all over his face. “I want eternal life!” he exclaimed and pounded one fist into an open hand.



“You shall have it then. Go home. Gather all your possession, and sell it all. Then take the money and contribute every penny to the poor,” Jesus said. He then paused to allow the magnitude of His words sink in.



The young man took a step back in silence. His face betrayed his initial shock and surprise. Then slowly the expectation on his countenance faded and he turned and walked away.



Did you ever wonder what about this young man revealed the fact that he was wealthy, or perhaps more importantly, that he was in love with his wealth? Did he try to impress Jesus by wearing fine garments? Was he adorned with jewels and escorted by servants? Was his skin soft and his nails manicured? What is apparent is that he saw no connection between his love for his material wealth and his love for God. One had nothing to do with the other. But when Jesus implied a conflict of interest between his love for God and his love for wealth, he lost heart.



If there is one account in the New Testament that best epitomizes western Christianity it is this story. Like the young man western Christians desire a religion that will supplement their being. They shun an invasive faith that disrupts their lives. Western Christians are in love with far too many things other than the things of God. They are not like the rich young man. They are the rich young man.



Contemporary Christians accept a subjective form of moral decency as the price for eternal life, and are unwilling to give up the things they love the most – just like the rich young man. They view “taking up their cross” as an additional action that is added to all the other things in their lives which they love. As they see it, as long as they serve God then everything else in their lives (which serve their happiness) also serves God. But that is not what Jesus conveyed to the rich young man. According to Jesus, everything that once served their happiness must now serve God.



This is too much for most Christians to bear, so they like the rich young man turn aside from following Christ and go their own way. Today our churches and pulpits are full of Christians who have abandoned the teaching of Jesus in favor of a self-serving gospel. As a result, western Christianity rejects any teaching that is invasive to their personal lives. They embrace a Christianity that simply bolts on to their life as just another component that enables their pursuit of happiness.



Western Christians stand in bitter contrast to the Christianity Jesus taught. Jesus taught that our love for God cannot be a component of our lives - it must consume our lives. And that our love for God cannot coexist with other gods that sit on the throne of our heart – it must rule them. Western Christianity has manufactured an understanding God that makes exceptions to His rules. They present a God that loves them so much that He no longer cares if He is loved. Their concept of God puts them on the throne and God in service to them.





The Missing Piece



Not unlike the rich young man of this story, contemporary Christians have a deluge of teaching at their disposal. As a result, the common Christian is more knowledgeable about “God things” than their counterpart from any preceding generation. Yet for all their knowledge they ache with a hunger that cannot be satisfied with the intellectual stimuli they receive from their Christian media.



Many Christians stumble around in perpetual confusion from the varying and conflicting opinions of men. Truth becomes nothing more than an argument or doctrinal position taught by men. Since these conflicting views of truth are attributed to the Holy Spirit many Christian conclude that following the leading of the Spirit is dangerous.



Christians like this never learn that life everlasting cannot be found sitting in a pew listen to the pontification of a scholar enunciating a dissection of God’s law or recipes for virtuous living. However, occasionally there comes a seeker who tires of the endless disquisitions of men. Like the rich young man they’ve heard all sermons, read all the books, and found the end of man’s intellect. They realize that for all their searching and learning they are no closer to being a spiritual being then when they began. They eventually realize that fleshly men cannot birth the Holy Spirit in their lives. So they set out to find the missing piece to the meaning of life everlasting.



To go beyond the opinions and teaching of men requires the seeker to step out from among the roaring masses and go against the tide of popular opinion. He must be determined to march to the beating of a different drum. And, like Jesus, he must be ready to be labeled a renegade and rebel.



If you insist on clinging to the safety of man’s opinions then chances are that you value your religion over a relationship with God. If the time you spend in intellectual study (i.e. reading Christian media or listening to various teachers) outweighs the time you spend with God, then your form of Christianity is something born from your intellect and not your heart. This is a very important distinction, because that which comes from our intellect merely adds to our life whereas that which comes from our hearts consumes us. If your Christianity is intellectual, it is little more than a bolted-on religion, and this is why you are forever searching for answers which seem to forever elude you. If your form of Christianity is intellectual then it will be something you practice and not something that defines you.



This was the challenge the rich young man faced. He loved God. He loved his religion. But he loved his own life more. His love for God did not define him. It added to him. Likewise Christians love their learning from teachers and other forms of media more than spending time in the Spirit learning from Him. If Jesus was to say, “Go sell all your books, cancel the internet, and come and learn from me,” most Christians would turn away in bewilderment.



God cannot be relegated to just a certain part of your life. If He is, then your life will define what He is to you, and not what you will become through Him. In other words, your life will define God rather than be defined by God, in which case God is not your greatest love.





Your Greatest Love



1 Corinthians 8:3

But if any man love God, the same is known of him.



This scripture is not talking about the general love that all Christians have for God. It is talking about the person for whom God is their greatest love - whose love for God defines every aspect of their life.



Why is it so important to God that He be your greatest love? If He is indeed humble, why does He compete with the other loves of your life? Especially since the love for your family and nation is not a bad thing.



Your greatest love sets the boundaries and direction for your life. It is where your industry is spent. It defines who you are and what you shall become. It frames every other love of your life.



If God is your greatest love, then your love for your spouse and children will reflect His mercy and kindness. Your love for the world will be reflected in your charity and witness. Your love for riches will lack materialism and greed. Your love for your own life will reflect God’s character to all mankind.



All the other loves in your life roll up into your greatest love. Your greatest love will frame the way in which you love your friends, family, job, and the world. Even your form of pleasure and recreation is defined by your great love. Therefore it is easy to understand why God MUST be your great love. For Him to be anything less would mean that something else defines what He is and what He is allowed to be in your life.



If your spouse is your greatest love, then – providing your spouse is a godly person – your life will tend to reflect their godly virtues. However, if your spouse is not a godly person, then your values will tend to reflect ungodliness. Your values and virtues will be more a reflection of them than God. If your greatest love is the material comforts of this world, then your life will tend to reflect greed, and the car you drive and the home in which you live will reflect extravagance and luxury. If however, God is your greatest love, then your life will be reflective of His mercy and grace. Your actions will be defined by His values and love. And all the other loves of your life will be defined by godliness.





“Come up hither…”



Revelation 4:1

After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither…



Here we find that God requires us to rise above the earthly tides of men’s wisdom and learn from Him. Contemporary Christians have a different objective. They don’t want let go of their earthly affections. Instead of rising above the carnality of this life into true life in the Spirit, there exists a concerted effort to bring God down to them.



Christian media produces mountains of material while pastors and churches provide teaching and information on every subject. By providing information on virtually every subject, they have made obsolete the need to ascend up to be with God. By pulling down “God things” from the heavenly realm where the Spirit dwells, Christian media, churches, and Christian teachers have made it possible for contemporary Christians to remain rooted to this world and hang on to their worldly pleasures. Christians don’t need to grow up or change. They are able to remain carnal and worldly minded and yet bolt on to their lives the “God things” they receive from Christian teachers.



What we find today are Christian leaders who have become experts at pulling down “God things” for their followers. These things look and sound like living water but disappear almost as soon as they are received. True living water causes you not to thirst again, but these God things only make the parasite Christian more and more thirsty for the imitation living water that church leaders peddle.



Rather than growing up in the Spirit and ascending up to be with God, contemporary Christians have developed a symbiotic relationship with their Christian leaders. They slowly turn into parasites that cannot live on their own. They maintain a pseudo-Christian life style by nursing from the spiritual life of their pastor or church host. This is the consequence of a Christian society that will not trade in that which they cannot keep for that for which they cannot lose. They want the best of both worlds and, as a result, will eventually lose both.



Count the Cost



Matthew 7:7-8

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”



Many Christians embrace scripture such as this because it embodies their concept of God. To them He is little more than a genie who is at their beck and call. His purpose is to serve their happiness, and His longing is to make their dreams come true. Christians who hold this view of God don’t understand the underlying theme of the New Testament, which is for everything there is a cost.



The rich young man came to Jesus asking, seeking and knocking. What he found was the answer to the longing of his heart. He also discovered that there was a cost. Any Christian seeking for something more than what contemporary Christianity has to offer will find that sacrifice is a companion to life everlasting.



The young man would probably never have come to know the extent of his failure if he hadn’t pushed beyond the veil of his religion. It is only when he stepped away from the rank-and-file and reached for perfection that he discovered failure and ultimately judgment. He could have avoided judgment by simply mixing in with his contemporaries. He could have finished his education, become a distinguished member of his synagogue, married and raised a family, and then eventually in his old age he could become an elder of Israel. Unknowingly he stepped out of religion. He wanted life, the likes of which he saw in Jesus.



Like the young man, those who seek God unknowingly separate their selves to God and ultimately become His instrument. God will purify His instruments. If you’ve stepped out from among the tide of Christianity in search for the real essence of life everlasting then take a deep breath and brace yourself. You will come to know God’s judgment in your life. Everything that is not surrendered to the lordship of the Holy Spirit will be brought to light, and you, like the young man, will be given the opportunity to surrender it to God or walk away in failure.



The story actually has a happy ending. There is evidence that the rich young man was Mark. Not only did he eventually surrender his life and riches to God, but he became one of the great founding fathers of the Church. When he sold his possessions and riches, he sold himself into the service of God. Eventually he discovered the fullness of life everlasting, the answer to his questions, and the aspiration of his searching heart. What he found was an incomprehensible and unexplainable relationship with God that could only be found when he let go of this world and became willing to love God more!



Take care and be blessed my friends!

Ron



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