To gain that which you cannot lose

What will it cost me to follow Jesus Christ? It wasn’t until recently when I heard of Detrich Bonoeffer’s book, “The Cost of Discipleship”, where he boldly speaks of costly grace verses cheap grace. I have yet to read the book, but the title alone speaks of a longing desire to be a true Christ follower.

Shortly after work today while parked and sitting in my car, the Lord took me on a journey through Matthew 19: 16-22, where Jesus counsels the rich young ruler.

"Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”He said to Him, “Which ones?” Jesus said, ‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions."

For the first time while reading this passage I noticed that Jesus mentioned almost all but the most important commandment to “…’love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ …” Rather than directly answer the man’s question, “All these I have kept from my youth, what do I still lack?” (v.20), the Lord choose to reveal the heart and expose what is so often found in many Christian hearts today. The young man did well in keeping all those commandments from his youth, but we discover that his first love was found in his "great possessions” rather than his God. Remember the Lord’s word to the church of Ephesus?

“Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent. But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.”’ – Revelation 2:4-7

As my wife said while driving home, “Jesus will not ask what we are willing to give up, but those things that we are unwilling.” How much of my life has not been completely surrendered to the God who loved me and gave His life for me? Is there anything in my life that I am unwilling to give up? It is by this measure that my heart has yet to be fully yielded.

O heart, I appeal to you to come to Jesus and surrender all at the foot of the cross! Only at this place of worship and surrender will you gain that which you cannot lose and find your first love.

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep, in order to gain that which he cannot lose." - missionary martyr Jim Elliot


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