Matthew 19:21-22 Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
What is it that you want in life? Better question: is it what God wants for your life? I think this is the big hang up for people when it comes to presenting our whole bodies as a living sacrifice. The human heart wants what it wants, and sometimes that something destructive or sinful, and yet we can’t let go of it. Our desires can be very powerful. Look at the rich, young ruler in Matthew 19. He asked Jesus what he had to do to be saved. He said he kept the whole Law and obeyed God. Jesus told him the one thing he still needed to do was let go of what he was holding on to – his possessions. He couldn’t do it, and he missed out on something better. Some people interpret this story all wrong. It’s not about selling all of our stuff. It’s about giving our all.
We do surprising things to get what we want, things we’d never have thought we’d do. Our motives are shaped by what’s in our hearts. What are you holding on to that’s keeping you from being transformed? If Jesus is better than anything else we can have; what’s stopping you from letting go and trading what you want for what God wants?
When we submit our motives, God gives us desires that please Him. God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.
Ephesians 4:23-24 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
When you surrendered your life to Jesus Christ, you became a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). A major transformation occurs when someone takes this step. Along with that transformation comes a new heart. With a new heart comes new desires. With new desires comes renewed thinking.
The thing about obedience to God is that it all begins with right thinking. If we have any hope of following Christ we can’t do it on our own. We need His help to obey and we can only know what it is He wants us to do if we have been transformed by the renewal of our minds (Romans 12:2). We have to seek after the truth that’s only found in Him.
At some point in time the truth of God’s Word really penetrates your soul and you just know the truth for what it is. It becomes so clear that you can’t believe that you never embraced this truth before. This truth sets you free! (John 8:32) With a new heart and a new mind there’s a new life, one free from the burdens of this world and from the taskmasters of fear and shame.
A new mind is a clean slate to start over with. Instead of allowing your mind to be consumed by the things of this world, you have the opportunity to allow the Holy Spirit to fill it with what is right and good and pure.
Luke 24:25 And he said to them,“O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!
Our friends who encountered Jesus along the road to Emmaus days after His death on the cross were very knowledgable of the Scriptures. They longed for the promised Jewish Messiah because they had been taught from a young age all about the manuscripts and the Law, the oral traditions and the customs. They knew the stories of their ancestors inside and out. But Jesus pointed out to them that their head knowledge did not equal knowing the Scripture in their hearts.
He rightly pointed out to the disciples that they were being foolish for knowing the promises of God through the prophets without realizing that they were being fulfilled right in front of their eyes — by the very man who stood before them! They were so concerned with what they “knew” that they didn’t know anything. They couldn’t see the forrest for the trees. All of that teaching did them no good if they couldn’t recognize the One whom the prophets had foretold.
Before we get down on the poor disciples of this story let’s take a look at the modern day church, at ourselves. We’re a very educated society, with so many schools and so much at our disposal for learning about God and His Word. Many of us have quite a few verses memorized and have learned the stories of the Bible from a young age. We could tell someone who asks almost anything about any story…but how do those stories apply to our lives? Do we know that answer?
“Knowing” the Scriptures is not the same as seeing Jesus for who He is and what He’s done by seeking Him. Knowing God on a personal level enables us to really know the Scriptures and see them with eyes wide open. Jesus has enabled us to know Him if we’ll just seek Him out. If we look for Him, we’ll see that the entirety of God’s Word is about Jesus. From Genesis to Revelation.