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 4:17-19 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds.They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.
The new birth that comes with following Jesus brings with it a certain transformation. The Bible speaks in many places of the new life, the new self. We are made a new creation after salvation (2 Corinthians 5:17) and the old is made new. We have received a heart transplant as well: “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26)
It’s only because we’ve received a heart of flesh, one that’s moved toward God instead of being hardened to Him, that we are even capable of maturing and doing His will. But why do we so often act as though we’re still a hard-hearted nonbeliever? Why do we act as if our lives haven’t been transformed, insisting on living out our old ways?
The Apostle Paul says that those without God act with hard hearts towards Him because they’re ignorant. They don’t know yet of His love and they don’t know Him intimately. But we do! We who have been called and adopted into His family as His very own children know that He is good and we know how to follow Him. So, we ought to do it. We ought to live like the new creations we are, who are being conformed into what God created us to be.
If you haven’t traded in your heart of stone for a heart of flesh, take the step. Do it now. If you have, act like the child of God that you are. Live according to His purpose for you. Give yourself to Him. It’s such a better life than the one you left behind.