Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What Matters Most to You?

"Do not love the world or anything in the world.
If anyone loves the world,
the love of the Father is not in him..
For everything in the world-
the cravings of sinful man,
the lust of his eyes and
the boasting of what he has and does-
comes not from the Father but from the world."
- 1 John 2:15,16 (NIV)

The Christian walk is pretty radical. If we were to honestly exam ourselves in light of the above passage, what would our children, our friends, our God say matters most to us? What are our conversations filled with? What do we have our heart set on? What do we crave?

What do you hold onto so tightly? How would you feel or what would you do if God said, "Give it up" or "Let it go"? Think of Abraham. As crazy as it sounded, God told Abraham to give up - sacrifice to God, the son that God himself gave him and Sarah in their old age. It simply didn't make any earthly sense! It didn't make sense from any perspective I supposed except from God's. It didn't even sound like God himself who opposed human sacrifices! But Abraham obeyed the incongruous command of God. We who know the end of the story accept the outcome. However, it was credited as righteousness to Abraham because he believed and obeyed. He "saw" the outcome in his heart and mind - though he didn't have any evidence that it would turn out the way it did. He was being tested. His belief and faith in God was being tested. What mattered most to Abraham was his son, Isaac, and he was willing to give him up, sacrifice him for God.

Jesus said it this way, "Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." Matt. 10:37-39 (NIV)

Please don't misunderstand. We are expected to love and honor our parents and family or in 1 Tim. 5:8, Paul wouldn't have said, "If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." Or tell children in Eph. 6:1,2 to Honor your mother and father." We just aren't to love or honor them above God or in place of God.

The references to Abraham and Jesus' instruction were on the extreme or more radical end of the pole. The passage and thought at the beginning of the blog, however, connotes something slightly different, I believe. "Do not love the world or anything in the world..." correlates with Paul's instruction in Romans 12, "Don't be conformed to the pattern of this world..."

Our passions, should not be for the things this world is passionate about. Our expectations, our vision, our mindset, our energy shouldn't be consumed by a lust for the things this world or those who don't know Christ, pursue and value above God. I think the key word is "Love," not that we can't enjoy all of the good things of this world, since God has given us senses, taste buds, desires to be able to enjoy the things of this world. (He even gave us dominion over the things of the world, to conquer, master, rule over it.) However, we must put the things of the world in their proper place and that's in subjection to Christ. Nothing should have such a hold on us more than our passion for Christ and to wins souls for Christ -Nothing.

Our pursuit of degrees, our pursuit of a career, our pursuit of a mate, our pursuit of recreation, our hobbies, whatever gives us pleasure and a sense of fulfillment or accomplishment should pale in comparison to our being in Christ. As Paul said, he counted everything before Christ as dung, rubbish (Phil. 3:8). Church, it's time to get radical. It's time to get real. It's time we looked more like Christ and less like the world. It won't be popular either, but then, we're not called to be popular, we're called to be holy - set apart.

Write down what matters most to you and compare it to your love for Christ. Which matters more?

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