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Sell all that you have ...
- Jacob Ninan
A rich young man came to Jesus one day and wanted to know how to get eternal life. Jesus understood that for this man his money was more important than God Himself, and asked him to sell off all that he had, give to the poor and then follow Him (Mt.19:21). When it came down to it this man chose to cling to his money and lose out on eternal life (v.22).
Jesus said at another time that if we wanted to get the kingdom of God (which He compared to the pearl of greatest value) we would have to be willing to 'sell off' every other thing we considered to be valuable to us (Mt.13:45,46). To be His disciple we need to renounce all else (Lk.14:33).
In other words, God has to be Number 1 in our life. God is a 'jealous' God (Ex.34:14). Just as a husband is jealous over his wife and wouldn't like his wife to take interest in any other man, God wants our love, loyalty and devotion to be for Him alone. It is actually meaningless and senseless to recognise God as Lord and then treat something else to be more important. Anything that becomes more important to us than God becomes an idol to us, and that is why God warns us to flee from idolatry (1Co.10:14). God promises to give us grace to deal with any kind of temptation (v.13), but He would have to turn away from us in sorrow if He finds us considering other things so much valuable that we are unwilling to give them up for His sake.
God promises to provide everything we need if we seek God's kingdom and His righteousness as the topmost priority in our life (Mt.6:33). Isn't it obvious why we don't receive many things we ask for if this equation is not right in our life?
Many people and things can become important to us, for which we give God up in the different situations of life where we are tested. Most of us know it when we are being tempted to do something wrong. Unfortunately we may not even recognise that we are being tested because we don't see 'anything wrong' in many things we do. What can be wrong in loving our family, working hard to earn more money to have a better life, enjoying some friendship, hobby, pastime, sports or entertainment, wanting to work our way up the ladder to the top, having a 'dream' or ambition for our life, etc.? It is not about the right or wrong of such things. See if any of these things is being allowed to take supremacy over our relationship with God so that God gets neglected or sidelined in our heart and practical life. Is anything occupying our life so much that it is taking time away from God?
God is not asking us to stop taking any interest in anything other than Himself. Certainly there are many things we need for our life and what we need to do in life while we are on earth. But He does ask us to give Him the top position in our heart and mind (Mt.22:37;6:33). Each of us needs to know about our heart--what we really treasure there (Mt.6:21). God deserves to be that treasure for each of us, if we claim to know Him.